At first glance, the Thieaudio Ghost headphones appear to bear a striking resemblance to certain Sennheiser models. However, this similarity was intentional and for good reason. The classic design of these headphones has been tried and tested, proving to be both durable and comfortable over time.
Despite their similarity to other headphones, the Thieaudio Ghost features several unique elements that make them stand out. For one, they boast a spring steel headband and metal yokes that give the headphones a sturdy and solid feel in the hand. The earcups also feature metal grilles with a zigzag pattern that adds strength to the design.
Included with the headphones is a flat ribbon cable with 3.5mm connectors, which is functional but may feel a bit short for desktop use. While the cable feels somewhat cheap, it’s clear that Thieaudio had to make some compromises in order to keep costs down.
The earpads, on the other hand, are made of velour and feel plush yet firm against the ears. Though the earcups don’t swivel, they do tilt, and I found them to be comfortable even during extended listening sessions.
Overall, the build quality of the Thieaudio Ghost is excellent, although I have some doubts about the durability of the protein leather on the headband, given that it tends to disintegrate over time (as was the case with the Thieaudio Phantom).
Thieaudio has achieved a balanced sound signature with the Ghost, taking inspiration from the HD6xx not only in physical design but also its sonic character. However, once you start listening to the Ghost, you’ll immediately notice its unique sonic character. The sound is upfront and forthcoming, with a subtle lift in the bass creating a warmer, yet still neutral sound.
Despite the open nature of the headphones, the soundstage isn’t especially large. However, it’s far from being intimate. The Ghost’s stability of notes and accuracy of imaging provide excellent positional and distance cues, making it a good choice for gaming as well as music.
The Ghost is fairly linear between the sub-bass and mid-bass. While not especially impactful, I never felt a lack of rumble, even when listening to genres like hip-hop or electronic music.
The lows have good reach, providing ample punch and warmth to the sound, although the leading edges aren’t especially crisp. The Ghost’s emphasis on mid-bass, coupled with its warmth and body, creates a pleasant, well-rounded sound that’s perfect for extended listening sessions.
The midrange is emphasized, giving vocals a more prominent and intimate feel. The warmth in the lower midrange adds a pleasing richness to the sound, making it more engaging and immersive.
However, the upper midrange is slightly laid-back, which means that there is less emphasis on the higher-pitched harmonics of instruments like cymbals and snare drums. This can create a more relaxed listening experience, but it may also result in a less detailed and less airy sound compared to headphones with a more forward upper midrange.
Overall, these headphones are ideal for music genres that prioritize vocals and midrange-heavy instruments like acoustic guitars and pianos. They can also be great for listening to podcasts, audiobooks, and other spoken-word content, as the forward midrange emphasizes the clarity and intelligibility of speech.
The treble of these headphones is relatively easygoing, and should not cause any discomfort for treble-sensitive listeners. However, it is worth noting that these headphones have slightly more treble energy compared to the HD650s.
Despite this, the treble is well-tuned and strikes a healthy balance between vividness and comfort, similar to a meal with a hint of spice that doesn’t leave you reaching for a glass of milk or breaking out in a sweat. It is neither overly bright nor rolled off, providing a pleasant listening experience across various music genres.
Overall, the treble of the Ghost complements the midrange and bass nicely, creating a cohesive and enjoyable sound signature. It is suitable for those who enjoy a bit of sparkle in their music, without compromising on comfort or causing any harshness or sibilance.
The Moondrop VOID (review here) has 50mm dynamic drivers and offers impressive build quality despite being primarily constructed from plastic materials (with the exception of the grilles).
When it comes to audio performance, the VOID has more resolving power and clarity, delivering a lighter and airier tone in contrast to the Ghost’s thicker midrange notes. The VOID’s upper midrange is also noticeably brighter, resulting in greater vocal presence and forwardness, particularly with female vocals.
The VOID has a more expansive soundstage and superior instrument separation. While both headphones may have limitations in detail retrieval, the VOID’s overall resolution is slightly superior.
Oneodio Monitor 80
The Oneodio Monitor 80 (review here) has 40mm polymer composite diaphragm drivers and an open-back design. These headphones are difficult to drive and require a decent amplifier with a minimum of 600mW power output to fully realize their potential (in my opinion).
While the build quality of the Ghost feels slightly better due to its metal yokes and grilles, the Monitor 80’s cable is of much superior quality.
Compared to the Ghost, the Monitor 80 has a more neutral and slightly darker tonality. The bass is faster and less pronounced, but the extension is comparable. The midrange is darker, particularly the upper mids, resulting in less vibrancy in vocals, but they remain detailed. The treble tuning on the Monitor 80 is more neutral and less sparkly than the Ghost, making the overall sound thicker.
The soundstage of the Monitor 80 is slightly narrower but deeper, with strong imaging capabilities. Moreover, its resolution and detail retrieval are slightly better, despite having a less vivid sound than the Thieaudio.
In conclusion, the Thieaudio Ghost headphones offer excellent build quality and a balanced sound signature that emphasizes the midrange and provides ample warmth and punch in the bass. The treble is zesty yet non-fatiguing, and the soundstage is stable and accurate, making them suitable for both music and gaming.
While the design may be reminiscent of other headphones, Thieaudio has added unique elements that make the Ghost stand out. At a price point of only $129, these headphones offer great value and are a good choice for anyone looking for high-quality headphones without breaking the bank.