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Gaudio Labs Tödi: Swiss Style 

A dedicated artisan, sitting at a window by the last light of day, gently applying the last layer of polish on a handcrafted IEM, before capping off his perfect creation to share with the world. 

I doubt this idealistic notion even exists in today’s automated world, but if it did, you’ll probably find it in Ticino, in the southernmost canton of Switzerland, basking in the backdrop of the Swiss-Italian Alps. That’s where Nicola Gianotti first set up Gaudio Labs in 2019. An amalgamation of his family name and ‘audio’ (just in case that wasn’t obvious), the name also borrows from the Latin ‘gaudium’, meaning ‘joy and happiness’. 

It’s these essential qualities Nico sought from music, his lifelong passion and adult pursuit as an audiophile. With a technical background in electronics and communications, and a penchant for “tinkering” (as he puts it), he spent his youth disassembling, modifying and fixing all manner of objects. Then the day came where he discovered the joys of premium IEMs, and naturally had the idea to make his own. 

“Attending audio shows in Europe and listening to high-end in-ear monitors opened my eyes to a whole new world of sound,” he recalls. “The experience was entirely different from using traditional headphones, sparking a genuine interest in understanding the technology and acoustics behind these tiny products. I was captivated by the quality and knew I had to delve deeper into this world.”

Having successfully designed and launched two maiden products, Nair and Clariden, Gaudio would start work on an all-new flagship concept which, like its siblings, adopts the name of a towering Swiss mountain.

Introducing Tödi

Tödi represents “the evolution of the Gaudio brand”, and according to Nico, is the first in a line of breakthrough products the small three-person team is currently working on. It’s an exclusive, limited-edition product, with only 150 units being made (I have #8 of 150). 

Based on extensive research and customer feedback, Tödi is the first Gaudio IEM to incorporate a dynamic driver, and not just any dynamic driver. 

“With its configuration of two small 6mm dynamic drivers working together in a full-range configuration, Tödi is a symbol of our ‘thinking outside the box’, and the culmination of more than 18 months’ experimentation and development,” says Nico. “Working with this type of driver is completely different from working and designing with balanced armatures, and a lot of study and testing was necessary to achieve a result that met our expectations.” 

The reason for choosing two smaller dynamic drivers to cover the whole frequency spectrum was coherency and tone. The push-push configuration doubles the effective diaphragm area and overall air-movement, equivalent to having a single bigger driver but retaining the detail and speed of smaller drivers. Distortions are also cut in half. 

“The trade-off is not having a visceral sub-bass,” Nico explains. “For that a bigger diaphragm is mandatory, which then also results in longer note decays and that sense of impact, but I find the compromise worth the slight physical hit.”

According to Nico, larger DDs are often slow and warm, which can sometimes muddy male vocals or amplify certain instruments, leading to an unnatural sound. By using smaller DDs and employing various acoustic techniques, the midrange can be rendered more cleanly and naturally. 

“With that said, it’s always a matter of preferences,” he says. “Audiophiles wanting more warmth and larger-than-life instruments might not get that with Tödi, but what they will get is a very clean, balanced, even sound that’s neither too warm or too cold or clinical, just natural.”

Supplementing the dynamic drivers is a pair of Knowles BA tweeters, connected to the dynamic driver array with a two-way passive crossover. The BA drivers are only used for upper treble, extending the treble response of the double DDs to further ‘open’ the sound. In theory this gives Tödi a greater sense of detail and scale across the entire midrange-to-treble region, which I’ll test later on in this review. 

Internally, Tödi features sophisticated sound-shaping technologies, including a fully-tubeless 3D printed enclosure and what Nico calls an “interesting and effective” external acoustic resonance chamber (EARC) “which sits externally from the drivers and allows us to precisely enhance certain midrange frequencies, lowering unwanted reflections and peaks from the dynamic drivers.”  

If what’s inside the shell sounds impressive, the outside is even more so. Tödi has to be one of the most striking, precisely-made IEMs I’ve had the pleasure of using. 

The shell is made up of two separate parts: 

A high-quality 3D printed resin body in a satin black finish, hand-painted with a premium high gloss, hypoallergenic German lacquer; and the pièce de résistance, a precision CNC aluminium alloy faceplate cover, infused with ‘Ferrari Red’ titanium-charged anodising, and capped with a pair of golden yellow insignias of the Gaudio logo and the Tödi panoramic profile. 

It is absolutely beautiful to look at, silky smooth to the touch, and very different to just about any other IEM design I’ve seen.   

I asked Nico how Tödi is assembled, and he was kind enough to talk me through it and send me photos, some of which I’ve included below.

“The titanium-charged anodising in our customised red colour is a patented coating developed in Switzerland for the watchmaking industry and other luxury consumer goods,” he says. “It’s as strong as it is beautiful, twice as hard as regular anodising.

“To assemble Tödi, first we do the sorting of all the drivers and match them correctly. We 3D print and hand-process every shell and meticulously apply the glossy lacquer. The aluminium covers are hand-processed to remove any residue from the CNC-machining before sending them out for anodising.

“We then complete the first assemblies into the shells, run acoustic measurements, and re-match the Left-Right shells hosting the drivers if necessary. Once we’re satisfied performance is perfect, we precisely close the earphones by hand and conduct final acoustic measurements to approve the product before dispatch and delivery.

“As last step, we proceed with hand-cleaning each IEM with a soft cloth and clean air flow, then pack and store them ready for the dispatch. Every earphone is traceable, and we know exactly when it got assembled for traceability and repairs matters, should they ever need it.”

So confident is Gaudio in their build quality that every Tödi carries a full three-year warranty.  

Design and fit

As beautiful as Tödi is to look at, it was a bit more of challenge for me to fit. The main issue is the nozzle, or more specifically, its length and girth. It’s a double-whammy that doesn’t usually bode well for my narrow canal openings and sharp-bend in my left ear. 

The other ‘issue’ with the nozzle is how incredibly smoothly it’s been polished – great if you’re wanting a finish befitting a prize Yamaha piano, not so great if you’re a silicone eartip hanging on for dear life. 

Tödi does feature an eartip ‘notch’, at least, which means that a small handful of tips actually passed the stay-on test, and almost miraculously, of those tips, I managed to find at least two – SpinFit’s CP145 and Eletech’s Baroque (reviewed here), both in the smallest available size – that allowed me to wear the IEMs as intended without discomfort. 

Despite their premium appearance, the shells feel very sturdy and are easy to clean, and the nozzles feature fine metal mesh covers that prevent dirt and debris from spoiling the innards.

Despite the metal faceplates and giant shnoz, the shells are very small and light, and I actually feel the weight of my third-party PW Audio cable more than I do the shells themselves (more on this later). As such I can wear them for hours, while sheepishly sneaking a peak in the mirror every so often just to stare at the faceplates. Gaudio even has a name for it, Com Fit, something I was planning on panning, until I did actually find a comfortable fit. 

Packaging and accessories

Not that I’m spoiled or anything, but I was initially underwhelmed by the size of the delivery box. I’ve had cables delivered in boxes bigger than this.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, IEM boxes generally end up in a cupboard soon after opening, so if anything, Tödi’s diminutive packaging saves me some storage space. But the box itself is made of a rather thin carboard, albeit very nicely finished in black and red with clear foil printing, which makes it imperative to pack it well for shipping and resale.

When asked about the packaging, Nico explains: “Firstly, we anticipate that many countries will have stricter regulations regarding unused packaging space in the future. As such, we opted for eco-friendly packaging, which has been produced and stamped using 100% renewable energy, and avoided the use of foam to reduce our environmental footprint. Since big and sturdy packages can be costly, and since it will likely be discarded after use, we decided to prioritise a simpler design to keep costs down, which means a lower cost for the end customer.”

Instead of spending extra budget on packaging, Gaudio invested it in designing their own unique carry case, complete with built-in pockets for the IEM shells, and a mesh pocket for accessories inside the lid. The entire contents of the package fit inside the case, including:

  • A 2-wire, 2-pin high-purity 6N OCC copper cable with modular plugs;
  • Five pairs of Symbio-branded silicone eat tips and three pairs of slow expansion foam tips; 
  • A standard cleaning tool and brush; and
  • A hand printed welcome booklet.

I would have preferred to see a non-modular cable, or multiple cables with fixed plugs, but since cable rolling is almost a given at this price point, there’s not much wrong with what you get here, and the synergy between cable and IEM is decent. 

To be fair, regardless of price point, the accessories are of very high quality, and like the IEMs themselves, represent good value for money in my opinion. 

Continue to sound impressions…



Picture of Guy Lerner

Guy Lerner

An avid photographer and writer 'in real life', Guy's passion for music and technology created the perfect storm for his love of portable audio. When he's not playing with the latest and greatest head-fi gear, he prefers to spend time away from the hobby with his two (almost) grown kids and wife in the breathtaking city of Cape Town, and traveling around his native South Africa.


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