ThieAudio Legacy 3 - Reviews
Thieaudio Voyager 3 and Legacy 3 Dual Review
Pros: Balanced bass and mids tuning
Energetic bass response
Solid value for money
CIEM possible for <$200
Cons: Lack of treble
Unit variation concerns
Introduction

This a dual review for the Thieaudio Voyager and Legacy 3. The Voyager 3 costs $160 and is a 3 BA IEM while the Legacy 3 is a 2 BA 1 DD hybrid that costs $120. Disclaimer: I received both the Voyager and Legacy 3 from Linsoul in exchange for this honest review. I have not been or will be compensated in any other way.

For those unfamiliar with the Thieaudio brand, they're a ChiFi IEM brand with a number of products at common price segments, with the Voyager and Legacy 3 being their entry-level products. More recently, they've made waves with the release of the Thieaudio Monarch and Clairvoyance, two ~$700 IEMs that genuinely challenge some of the very best on the market. What's interesting about Thieaudio is that they're actually the in-house brand for Linsoul; you likely won't find them on some of the other common ChiFi stores like those on Aliexpress (e.g. NiceHCK) or Penon Audio. Notably, the Voyager and Legacy 3 are some of the only IEMs in the <$200 range that feature dip switches for tuning.

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What's in the Box?

The Voyager and Legacy 3 ship in a minimalist green box featuring its logo. You pull a green loop to slide out the inner box that presents IEM shells and a faux-leather carrying case. Inside the carrying case you'll find the 2-pin QDC style, over-ear IEM cable, a standard set of S, M, and L tips, and a SIM card ejector tool you can use to adjust the switches on the IEM shell. Between the two, I like the Legacy 3's shell design more. The gold clockwork faceplate is striking against the translucent light blue shell. It also has more customization options for the faceplate and you can even get it in custom form for not too much more depending on the customization, making it quite an attractive CIEM option for <$200.

The fit on both the Voyager and Legacy 3 are quite similar, with the typical ergonomic shape that's becoming increasingly common with resin shells. The Voyager 3 however is slightly bulkier than the Legacy 3. Both isolate fairly well. I find that the Legacy 3 does have some driver flex with its DD, marking a slight inconvenience when walking around at times. The cables these IEMs ship with are great. The Voyager 3 in particular ships with the Tripowin C8 cable and one of the best stock cables to come with an IEM that I've encountered. There's next to no cable noise, no cable memory, and is soft and pliable. The Legacy 3's cable isn't up to the same level but still beats out the vast majority of stock cables and is a bit rubbery. Needless to say, there's little need to cable swap unless they die for some reason.

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Sound
As mentioned before, both the Thieaudio Voyager 3 and Legacy 3 each feature two dip switches for a total of four possible tunings. For the Legacy 3, the switches have essentially no effect and I won't make a distinction between them for this review. For the Voyager 3, the switches have a noticeable difference. I'll post measurements at the end of each review. For reference, I refer to the four tuning options as 00, 10, 01, and 11 where 0 refers to the switch in the up position and 1 in the down position. The settings are read left to right i.e. ON then KE. This picture provides an example of the 10 position.

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Don't ask me what ON or KE stand for. I'll chalk it up to some odd lost-in-translation problem from the manufacturers.


Legacy 3:

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Bass: The bass of the Legacy 3 extends down to 20 Hz with the slightest of roll-offs. It has a nice sense of impact and responsiveness that makes up for its relative lack of texture and nuance. As far as budget IEMs go, this is one of the better bass responses I've heard. It provides the much needed low end presence that makes music engaging while maintaining a balance that doesn't emphasize either subbass or midbass.

Mids: The transition into the low mids is tastefully done. A lot of budget IEMs can struggle here but the Legacy 3 handles it with no issue. There isn't much bass bleed or muddiness from the DD and nor a jarring DD/BA transition at the crossover. The Legacy 3 has just a hint of warmth in the lower mids. The upper mids has plenty presence with a forwardness that brings out clarity in vocals and electric guitars. Combined with the slight warmth in the lower mids, the Legacy 3's mids response nicely handles the tone of a majority of instruments. From the quiet strumming guitar coupled with a vocalist's whispered words to the screaming overdriven notes of lead electric guitar, the Legacy 3 is well suited to modern pop/rock genres.

Treble: Where the Legacy 3 stumbles is its relative lack of treble. Right at the transition between the upper mids and lower treble, there is a sharp drop-off in volume. This is not to say the Legacy 3 cannot produce treble at all. It can and the Legacy 3 is certainly not a dark IEM. It is simply de-emphasized. The sharp, crisp sound of the hats or delicate shimmer of the the cymbals have less presence, leading to a duller tone. For those sensitive to treble, the Legacy 3 would be a good choice as it is far from fatiguing with no sibilance issues. I liken it's lack of treble to that of the Etymotic ER4 line. It's there but its far from the focus. I find that the overall tonality of the Legacy 3 isn't negatively affected by this, with the exception of instruments that specifically rely heavily on the upper harmonics.

Technical Ability: On a technical level, the Legacy 3 is a solid performer for it's price bracket of about $120 but won't be taking home any medals. Imaging is a bit better than your standard budget IEM though its soundstage is mediocre with a flat 2D, in-your-head type of sound that's in line with 90% of other IEMs out there. Resolution and separation are competitive with some of the better products in this price range but are decidedly a step down from the best performers (i.e. Etymotic ER2, Tin Audio T4, Moondrop Starfeld).

Conclusion: As a whole, I quite like the Thieaudio Legacy 3. While it lacks the treble response that I generally look for in my IEMs, the mids balance and bopping bass response kept me listening to it for longer than I'd normally do for a review. While I don't think it provides the greatest value from a price/performance standpoint, it is a solid contender to the $100 or so IEM range. Where I see the Legacy 3 be undisputed is as a CIEM. The number of CIEMs you can buy <$200 can be counted on one hand and the Legacy 3 has a firm foundation in both tuning and technical performance.

Measurements:
My set has very slight imbalance but this is not noticeable at all.

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You can see in this graph that regardless of what setting you're on, there's effectively no difference.
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*Disclaimer: The Legacy 3 has a unit variation issue. Antdroid has previously documented it here. My unit has the old (orange) tuning. Based on the measurements, I would probably enjoy the newer tuning even more. That said, I still find the old tuning enjoyable as demonstrated in my review.

Voyager 3:

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Technical Ability: The technical performance of the Voyager 3 is quite similar to that of the Legacy 3. Both imaging and soundstage are about on par for most IEMs - a flat 2D, in-your-head sound. Resolution and separation are very middling and a step back from the Legacy 3. Dynamics are blunted. For $160, I'm fairly disappointed. The technical performance of the Voyager 3 is on the level of some of the better $50-80 IEMs. BA timbre is not bad but is absolutely noticeable in the bass when comparing to the Legacy 3.

Tuning 00: This is my second favorite tuning. The bass is bloated but there is serviceable upper mids clarity to balance things out. There's a peak around the lower-mid treble that manifests as splashy cymbals and brings out the crack of the snare. Some may find this fatiguing. As with the other tunings, upper treble is lacking and there is no sense of air or sparkle.

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Tuning 10: This is my favorite tuning. The bass is dipped just a tad while adding a bit more upper mids and treble. It's essentially a cleaner version of tuning 00. Although the bass is still slightly bloated, it's not an issue. My only complaint with this (which also applies to tuning 00) is that the splashy treble sometimes sometimes jumps out at you and the lack of treble extension makes the tone a little wonky. The Legacy 3's tuning is better IMO. There's just a much better balance between the mids and the bass in the Legacy 3 despite it's lack of treble. The Voyager 3's 10 tuning passes the bar for decent and that's about it.

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Tuning 01 and 11: Like 00 and 10, these tunings are quite similar. For the most part, I dislike both. Compared to the 00 and 10 tunings, these sound bloated and muddy with a severe lack of presence in the mids due to a very small pinna gain. The 01 tuning is worse by a little bit. These tunings essentially dampen the uppers and treble. Because the low-mid treble hump is tamed, there is a further lack of clarity and the treble now just sounds cheap. Interestingly enough, the 11 tuning graphs fairly closely to the pre-2020 CFA Andromeda. While I also did not like the Andromeda's tuning when I had a chance to demo it, it was a lot better than this. I think the significantly improved technical performance and upper treble extension of the Andromeda play a big part in that. All that being said, I can see how some people like this sort of laid back, warm tuning. When I compare it directly to the Legacy 3 which has a much better balance, the 01 and 11 tunings are hard to enjoy. But after a good 30 minutes or so my ears started to adjust and I began to enjoy the music through this tuning. For some tracks, the lack of pinna butchers the vocals. But depending on the mix, other tracks aren't really affected at all. Of course, YMMV depending on what you listen to.

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Conclusion: It's hard for me to recommend the Voyager 3 beyond the novelty aspect of playing with tuning switches. Its technical ability is middling at best. The best tuning setting is relatively decent. For $160, the Voyager 3 really shouldn't exist. To be fair to Thieaudio, the Voyager 3 was their very first foray into IEMs and the <$200 market is phenomenally competitive. The one case where I can see the Voyager 3 be worth it is if you're curious about tuning switches as I can't readily think of any other <$200 IEM out there with switches that meaningfully contribute to the overall sound. Though there are a number of other IEMs out there with tuning filters.

Measurements:
You can see the channel matching is quite good on the Voyager 3.
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Here are the four tuning options. You can clearly see that if the second switch is in the "up" position, it has a lot more upper mids and treble presence.
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Should You Buy It and Which One?
As evident in my review, I would consider the Legacy 3 to be worth it while the Voyager 3 can be safely ignored. The Legacy 3 beats out the Voyager 3 in almost all respects unless you specifically want that Andromeda-like laid-back, warm tuning with minimal vocal forwardness from the Voyager 3. At $120, the Legacy 3 is a good value and I feel comfortable recommending it, especially if you want a CIEM. And while there may be better value propositions on the market, those may not fit your needs. As always, make sure you think about what exactly you want out of your IEMs and do more research into what fits your needs. If the Etymotic ER2, the Tin T4, or Moondrop Starfield have some sort of deal breaker for you, the Legacy 3 is worth a look.
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ThieAudio Legacy 3 Review : Leaving behind a legacy!
Pros: Balanced sound
Non-fatiguing sound
Good detail retrieval and layering
Good build quality
High quality cable included
Cons: Included accessories could be better (Really nitpicking here)
Soundstage could be wider
Disclaimer : This unit was borrowed from my friend who purchased it as his own personal unit

INTRO
Thieaudio is a brand started by Linsoul in 2019 to create revolutionary audio products for audiophiles and professionals. The first product created by them were the Thieaudio Phantom, an open-back planar magnetic headphone. Since then, they have created 2 new series of earphones - the Voyager and Legacy series. The Voyager series is targeted at musicians, whereas the Legacy series is better suited for audiophiles and music enthusiasts.

While looking up on the latest earphones in the market, I stumbled upon Thieaudio, where people were constantly talking about their earphones. As of writing, they have a total of 4 earphones, 2 in each series : Voyager 3, Voyager 14, Legacy 3 and Legacy 9. The number pegged in the model name indicates the number of drivers in the earphones.




The Voyager and Legacy series differs not only in their target audience, but also in their driver types. The Voyager series uses only Balanced Armature (BA) drivers while the Legacy series uses a mix of BA and Dynamic drivers.

My friend decided to purchase it after reading many reviews of it online and I was lucky enough to be able to borrow it from him. Now let's have a quick summary of the earphone before going into the details of it. For simplicity, the Legacy 3 will be referred to as L3 henceforth.

QUICK SUMMARY
Sound : Balanced

Driver : 2 BA (1 High, 1 Mid) + 1 10mm Nano-Membrane dynamic driver (Low)
Socket : 2-pin (0.78mm)
Price : Starts from 119 USD
Where to buy it : Linsoul

Suitable genres : All-rounder, but sounds a tad better for fast-paced songs like metal, hip-hop etc.

WHAT'S IN THE BOX
The box that the earphone came in is dark green, which reminded me of the boxes that the Rolex watches comes in. It slides open to reveal a set of basic accessories :



3 sets (S,M,L) eartips
1 x SIM Tool (Used for adjusting the switches on the earphone)
1 x Semi-hard synthetic leather earphone case
1 x Legacy 3 earphone
1 x 7N 8-core OCC copper cable

The earphone case feels good and it's actually big enough to put in the earphones and more such as box of eartips or maybe another set of cables. One suggestion I have for Thieaudio is that they could include dividers or compartments in their earphone case so as to allow users to keep their things separately, such as having a small pocket for the SIM tool, or a small divider for eartips within. Though the accessory pack is sufficient, I wish they had came with more accessories such as foam tips, but that is really just nitpicking at this point.

BUILD QUALITY
When first looking at the earphone with my friend, we both noted that the quality of the clockwork design earphone looked rather questionable but after receiving the unit, it actually looks and feels much better than it seems. From Linsoul's product page, it says that the shell is made from medical grade resin and you can feel that it is quite thick and can withstand drops which I think is great (please don't drop it though). It is really well-built, you can hardly tell that the earphone is actually joined at the faceplate as there are no seams to suggest that. The light blue shade of the earphone is actually slightly darker in actuality and the subtle silver logo is a nice touch to it.



I find that the clockwork design can be a real hit or miss. I used to have an earphone that had a clockwork design and though it initially looked okay, I got tired of it after a while due to the excessive number of gears on it. However on this unit, I think it was not excessive and looked pleasant. Personally, I would have gotten the "Mystique" option as I prefer swirled patterns over the clockwork.


Legacy 3 Earphone, Mystique design (Image obtained from Linsoul)


COMFORT AND ISOLATION
The earphone has a nice shape to it that fits most ears, including my friend's which was on the smaller side. It fits snugly in the ear, and was flushed against my ear.

For noise isolation, I did not have much issues with it while using the stock medium sized eartips. I found it to have a better seal than using SpinFit tips, maybe because the slightly longer nozzle of the SpinFit tips caused the earphone to be sticking out more, allowing the earphones to droop down and thus breaking the seal. Using it with the sedna earfit light eartips from AZLA provides a good seal and it sits snug in my ears while providing a wider sound as compared to the SpinFits.

I would suggest getting eartips that do not have a long nozzle to provide a good fit and seal.

SOUND
I was pleasantly surprised by how balanced these earphones sounded. It reminded me of the Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 but with better bass and less "in-your-face" mids. For a sub 200 USD earphone, I also did not expect the L3 to be such a revealing earphone, the amount of details it had was surprising and it does it effortlessly. This earphone comes with switches that allows the user to tweak the sound slightly without changing its entire sound signature. I found that I actually preferred it at the "01" setting (Switch 1 down, Switch 2 up), as it had better treble extension.

This review will be done on my Cayin N6ii (T01 Module) on the "01" setting of the L3 with the included cable and eartips.

Highs
Highs have a good extension and sound thick, making it really enjoyable. It never sounds grainy even at higher volumes and still keeps you in the groove of the song, allowing you to headbang to your music.

As a treble head, I find that the highs are sufficient but it also wouldn't hurt to have a bit more sparkle to the treble. Listening to "Sugar Song to Bitter Step" by Unison Square Garden, despite the constant high hats throughout the song, you hear it, but it's clearly tucked away in the back. I suppose the good thing about that is that it's not so tiring listening to it but at the same time, it leaves you wanting more.

Due to the highs being slightly laid back and being thicker-sounding, highs are less fatiguing but may sound less exciting. This is clearly pointed out in "You Estas" by Kana Boon, high hats are clearly there but you only hear a tiny hint of it, and crashing of cymbals are less "in-your-face".

However, I have to reiterate that the quality of the treble is still one of the better ones that I have heard. It still has a decent amount of sparkle to it though not as bright as how I normally like it to be.

Overall, the highs are really enjoyable still : It does not overwhelm the listener but keeps them entranced in the song.

Mids
Listening to mids on the L3 is very enjoyable because not only is it fast, it has some thickness to it. Electric guitars on it never sounds thin, but nuances in the upper mids are a bit laidback. Listening to "40oz" by Polyphia, you can hear that most of the electric guitar retains the details but does not shout at you. This thickness to the mids works to its advantage when listening to metal. On "ARCADIA" by Jupiter, Hizaki and Teru's guitar sounds amazing with the distortion. It has a lot of bite to it that gets you very engrossed in their playing, you'd be in for a real treat listening to their guitar solo at the 2 minute mark of the song!

Moving on to vocals, female vocals on these are clearly not lacking. Mariya Takeuchi's vocals shine in "Plastic Love" and that subtle reverb in the song is also audible, giving it that extra headspace, almost like the vocals are elevating in your head. Male vocals are also pleasant to listen to. In "Choices" by Bernhoft, when he strains his voice to hit the higher notes, those little nuances that he does at the end of some sentences can easily be heard. Overall, mids are very safe sounding while retaining details. Upper mids does not overtake anything, vocals are generally on the warmer side and comfortable to listen to. So if you're looking for an earphone where the female vocals will particularly shine when they hit those high notes, then this is not it. However, everything here is done in a way that most listeners will enjoy it. I think this is Thieaudio's tuning to have upper mids tucked in the back to have a sound that is less fatiguing overall.



Lows
The lows on the L3 definitely go low, which is what I enjoy most about a dynamic driver bass setup. Bass is also very textured, giving it a nice rumble when the bass goes deep. Listening to "So Strange" by Polyphia, near the last minute of the song, there are parts of it when the bass goes deep. The L3 is able to reproduce those subbass levels with a good rumble but it does not overwhelm you in it. Bass on the L3 is also fast, listening to "Sukiraism" by Frederic shows that it's able to keep up with the song, regardless of when the bassist is playing it on the higher or lower frets. Also from Frederic, the bass of "Togenkyo" is reproduced well, fast and snappy while not bleeding into the lower mids region. Even with many instruments ongoing, it never struggles to keep up.

One thing I also noticed about the bass in general is that it seems very directed to the listener instead of surrounding the listener in its bass, like having a surround sound of bass. This is probably due to the soundstage which would be further discussed below. In essence, the bass on the L3 has a clear distinction from the highs and mids, and never overwhelming the listener. It goes low enough for you to feel the music, and also snappy enough to keep up with more fast and challenging bass lines.

OTHER NOTES
Soundstage on these earphones are average, the music always sound like they are inside your head and never out of it. You won't get a surround sound experience like listening to music in a concert hall, sounds more 2 dimensional than 3 dimensional. Thus, everything would sound very directed to you but because of the way the sound is tuned, it never sounds fatiguing. On a sidenote, if you are wondering if this is the case with all earphones from Thieaudio, I can assure you it is not as I have tried the Voyager 14 and it is spacious.

I do like the imaging on these pair, they provide rather accurate instrument placements when listening to my music. For instance, listening to "Can't Wait" from Chon, you can tell that drums are up in the front with the vocals being slightly nearer, lead and rhythm guitar on the right and left respectively with the lead guitar being closer to you. What a delight!

The switch system is a plus point as it allows you to have a slight flexibility in the sound without altering the sound signature much. In its "11" configuration (i.e. both switches up), it sounds more V-shaped, boosting the bass while making vocals more laidback. In the "10" configuration (first switch up, second switch down), upper mids and treble sounds a bit too far than what I would like. Still, I prefer it in its "01" configuration as it sounds the most balanced to me.

Comparing to the similarly priced BQEYZ Spring 1, I find that highs on the Spring 1 have a better extension than on the L3, it shines even more. I still prefer the mids on the L3 because the mids are thicker and suits the genres that I listen to better, such as rock and metal. Bass on the Spring 1 sounds similar to me, both reach the same levels though the bass on the Spring 1 sounds softer to me. Spring 1 definitely has a wider soundstage, which I prefer more. Both are good in their own right, some may say that the Spring 1 sounds "softer" but that is due to the wider soundstage, while others may prefer the L3 as it is more direct.



CONCLUSION
I am pleasantly surprised by how the Legacy 3 sounds, it is a very enjoyable earphone to listen to, never fatiguing, with balanced levels of highs mids and lows throughout. I can easily recommend this earphone to anyone because it does check a lot of boxes for me such as having a detailed, balanced sound and detachable cables. Thieaudio really has done a good job for a newcomer and they just shook up the market with its offerings, I am really impressed! If you are looking for the best bang for your buck under 200, this is definitely it!

(If you like my content, visit my site here and follow me @resonant.reviews for more reviews to come!)
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Tjhfirefighter
Tjhfirefighter
Agree. Only thing lacking is more sound stage. Having said that I usually get IEMs with big sound stage and like to pull these out for more intimate fun listening
dragonx64
dragonx64
@Tjhfirefighter Same here, I am getting quite used to the wide soundstage sound too so most of my earphones have that too!
Pros: - solid, non-offensive tuning
- passable bass response
- very lightweight and comfortable
Cons: poor midrange presentation
- blunted treble response
- very colored timbre
For optimal viewing, please read on my site here.


Introduction

Thieaudio is a sub-brand of Linsoul, and they have two lineups: Their all-BA Voyager lineup and their Legacy, hybrid lineup. To this effect, the Legacy 3 (L3) is using 1DD+2BA and retails for $119. My first encounter with Thieaudio actually took place a few months ago with their Voyager 14. Suffice it to say I wasn't particularly impressed with that IEM; I didn't make it in five minutes before handing it back to its owner. To my ears, the V14 had an egregious midrange suck-out which made vocals sound like they were coming through a telephone. It certainly wasn't a good first impression, and as I'll discuss in this review, the L3 doesn't do much to assuage my doubts about this brand.

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The Tangibles

I'm not going to allocate too much time here just because this is a loaned unit, and I didn't receive any packaging by my own request. Build quality seems good to me, and I like the slide-over connector pins they're using. The L3 is small and it weighs very little. So there should be few fit issues, I also didn't experience any abrasion with the switches at the back.

Sound Analysis

Disclaimer: This unit was kindly lended to me by a member of the audio community. At the end of the demo period, it will be returned to him. I have no other conflict of interest, and as usual what follows are my honest thoughts.

Testing Methodology:
  • Stock cable and silicon tips. I'm sure one could tip-roll to adjust the sound signature to somewhat better align with their preferences.
  • FLAC files off of a Shanling M0.
  • Burn-in - I don't really believe in it unless we're talking about your brain and ears getting used to the sound. For what its worth, I rarely hear differences after the fact, and this was a loaner anyways.
  • The L3 takes very little power to drive, and I had no issues driving it off of any of my sources. I listened to it using both the switches "ON".
Bass: There's a noticeable bass boost and solid extension to the sub-bass. This is probably my favorite part of the L3 - I do like my bass after all - and you can hear that dynamic driver putting in work. That being said, I find that it can smear a bit, and a good example of this is on Jason Aldean's "Talk About Georgia". The recording has the drums pushed back further than usual behind the singer, and they seem to jumble/overlap at times on the L3 thus getting lost in the mix. There's nothing blatantly wrong with the L3's low-end though, and I enjoy it for the most part.

Midrange: Vocal presentation is the first thing that struck me as off about the L3. I hear it as leaning toward textured, and it has a very strange, murky quality to it. As my ears adjusted to the L3, the issue somewhat abated but switching to some of my other IEMs made it very obvious. While I don't find this issue to be as pervasive with male vocals, it's very clear listening to the likes of, say, IU. IU is a K-pop vocalist who has a clean, rounded voice, but the L3 presents her voice with a slight roll-off and gives it a grainy, "rough" quality around the edges. Just in general, I find vocals struggle to "move air" and cover the soundstage. I question how much of this is exacerbated by timbre coloration; it's a turn-off nonetheless.

Highs: Are you looking for highs? Oh sorry, they're not here. The highs on the L3 are defined almost entirely by their attack function; they decay so fast that they might as well not exist. And to this effect, they're quite blunt, lack shimmer, and have very little extension. Put more nicely, I could possibly see them being described as "laid-back".

The L3 has a warm, dark, tuning to my ears. It's a decent tuning, and I'm actually a bit of a sucker for it just because it aligns similarly with one of my favorite IEMs, the 64audio U12t. But the L3 has serious timbre issues that effectively kill any positive regard I might have for the IEM. Admittedly, I might be a bit sensitive to timbre coloration; however, the L3 is the worst offender of this that I've listened to date. And it's not even a plasticky BA hue, it's more like everything is just...smothered in general, and I don't think there's much that can be done about it.

To this effect, BA IEMs often have a plastic-like quality to the timbre that is characterized by an overall sense of weightlessness or lack of authority, hence "plasticky". It's also an issue with hybrids because perfect coherency between a DD/BA just isn't possible. I've noticed this on all my BA IEMs and hybrids to varying degrees; the 64audio U12t probably being one of the best offenders. The L3 itself no doubt suffers from this to a certain extent, but there's more so simply a "veiled" quality to the timbre. In essence, the entire frequency spectrum sounds slightly smothered, likely only further exacerbated by the darker tonality, and it becomes very evident when A/Bing between my other IEMs.

In terms of technicalities, I'm also not too impressed. Imaging is somewhat poor, a good example is on "REMEMBER" by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk] which has a female vocalist that enters from the back left at 0:41. The transients here are what I can only describe as fuzzy, sluggish almost. Resolution is par for the price; in general I don't find it to be so hot although some of this can probably be attributed to timbral coloration.

Select Comparison

I've seen a couple people ask how the L3 compares to the Moondrop Blessing 2.

First, let me just say that this isn't a remotely fair comparison - after all, the Blessing 2 is more than twice the price of the L3. And in terms of tuning, they're also wholly different. The Blessing 2 leans toward neutral-bright; it has a cleaner, thinner midrange, and much, much better treble extension and air. I do see the L3 possibly contending in one aspect, and that's the bass. The L3 has much more bass quantity, which is a personal preference, but it has a tendency to smear more than the B2 and the attack isn't as clean.

Technicality-wise it's also a bit of a wash for the L3. As I noted earlier, the L3 has rather poor imaging and it also has a pretty average soundstage. The B2's soundstage is only slightly above average, but it feels more evenly distributed, and it images better than the good majority of IEMs even above its price bracket. Both have some degree of timbre coloration, but the B2's is much less offensive to me. For pure resolution, they're right about where they should be for their respective price points. So, uh...the L3 as a killer to what is already considered the closest thing to a giant killer in the sub-$500 range? Yeah, I don't think so.

Test Tracks (just some of the ones I went through)
  • Brooks and Dunn - Red Dirt Road
  • Ekali - Cage
  • IU - Blueming
  • Jason Aldean - Talk About Georgia
  • Keith Urban - Sweet Thing, Kiss a Girl
  • Kelsea Ballerini - Needy
  • Lee Brice - Love Like Crazy
  • Sabai - Million Days
  • SawanoHiroyuki[nZk] - REMEMBER, e of S
  • Taeyeon - My Voice (Album)
The Verdict

And here-in lies an important point of contention: The price. Thus far, I've been quite harsh on the L3, but I'll be the first to admit that my expectations are probably too high. Most of my daily listening revolves around stuff that's a few times the L3's price if not more; however, I've also seen some sentiments that the L3 punches beyond its price. And unfortunately, to my ears it doesn't. For $120, it's not bad, but it's also not what I would call good. I simply cannot entertain the notion of me listening to the L3 in my free time when there are cheaper, better alternatives like the Moondrop Starfield (which admittedly has a very different sound signature) at play.

Talking with Antdroid of Audio Discourse (check them out, I write for them too), who incidentally has a very different opinion of the L3, it seems I might've gotten one of the earlier, shall we say, more-so "cucked" L3s. The L3 has since presumably undergone a stealth-revision to the frequency response that makes some adjustments to the highs. If this is true, then sure, I could see the L3 as being a slightly more enticing option. But there also seems to be some unit variance, so ask yourself if you want to play the Powerball lottery when you buy your L3 because I sure don't.

For what it's worth, I do think that the L3 has a niche. It's basically a poor-man's U12t, so if you want a taste of flagship tuning - albeit with the numerous concessions that I've outlined thus far - then it could be a viable option. And just in general, it's a pretty safe, inoffensive tuning. But for me, much of the L3's value would actually be predicated on the CIEM option. For $200, you can get a CIEM that is not only decently tuned, but is also one of the cheapest I've seen on the market.

Score: 3.5/10
Understanding my scoring: This is a personal, subjective assessment of an IEM’s sound quality. I don’t take into account any other factors, and it's relative to the absolute best sound I've heard. Take it with a grain of salt! I’m not going to lie; I have high standards. But I’m not telling anybody how they should hear something – it’s a reflection of what of me, myself, and I hear.
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DeadpoolRJ
DeadpoolRJ
I found your review really clarifying. Keep the high standards and honesty.
CT007
CT007
Strongly disagree with, "the L3 has rather poor imaging and it also has a pretty average soundstage". I'm pretty sure it's the best I've heard in any IEM around it's price, as of writing. Blessing 2's treble was too intense for me, and the huge shell is ridiculous, so L3 easily won that "battle". I find the L3 very spatially engrossing in 3D games and any/all spatial effects in music or otherwise. I'd like to hear something even more engrossing around the same price, but I doubt it exists yet.
Precogvision
Precogvision
@CT007 If it works for you, fair enough man. It also sounds like you might be sensitive to treble, so the L3 is probably ideal in that respect.
Pros: Very good all-round performance , Stunning looks, Love the bass texture and tonality, Very musical IEM
Cons: Little to no accessories, Not the best pick if you prefer greater emphasis on detail.
View other reviews at: https://www.perrivanaudio.com/

Driver Setup
: 2 Balanced Armature and 1 Dynamic Driver (10mm Nano-membrane)

Price: $180 - $190 SGD (Price can vary more depending on the design you selected)







Intro


Disclaimer: I purchased the Thieaudio Legacy 3 Mystique Design from Linsoul at the full price of $129 (USD) and this review is written of my own accord.

The Thieaudio Legacy 3 is the younger brother of the Legacy 9 and comes in at a really attractive price for what it is offering. At the time of writing, it comes in 4 different colours, namely the Clockworks, Mystique, Chinese White and Blue-AW11 (what a name). I got mine in Mystique which is at an extra charge of 10USD more than the clockwork design and they look nothing short of amazing.


Packaging and Accessories (Score: 6/10)


Nothing to scream about in the packaging. The unboxing experience was pretty interesting as the box opens up like a book and it is made up of almost all paper with a piece of foam to hold everything in place. Nice to see less plastics in packaging, I guess?









It comes with a large faux leather zip case. It’s spacious enough for you to fit a small DAP or perhaps a Bluetooth DAC like the FIIO BTR5 on top of your Legacy 3 IEMs.






Included are some silicone tips which don’t exactly scream quality. They were too soft for my liking. There is also a SIM/SD card slot tool included which is supposed to help you toggle the dip switches on the IEMs to change the sound settings.


Build quality and Fit (Score: 8/10)


Build quality of the earphones themselves are stellar and they look many times their price.

The quality of the stock cable is decent. It starts off in a solid 3.5mm jack into an 8-wire braid, and splits into 2 quad braids via a sturdy metal Y-split. The wires are quite rubbery which I wasn’t a fan of, but at this price, it is a pretty good cable and I would be nitpicking if I complained too much about it.






I really like the size and universal shape of the IEM. The size is slightly smaller than you’d expect for this custom-like style design and sits in the ear with very little protrusion. However, my right and left ears are a little uneven, so I need to point out I had some trouble with my right side. I experienced pressure and driver flex when inserting the right IEM. I found myself needing excessive fiddling to get a good seal with silicone tips and after a while I gave up and switched to foams which fit comfortably and resolved my issues.


Sound (Score: 8.5/10)






Switch info and Frequency response of the Legacy 3

I just want to make a quick mention about the dip switches in the Legacy 3. It is a cool feature and something seemingly characteristic of Thieaudio earphones looking at the Voyager and Legacy series. It is a nice inclusion for the Legacy 3 as it’s quite rarely seen in earphones at this price bracket and offers good sound customization options to appeal to a wider range of sound preferences. However, one thing Thieaudio could do better is to at least include some information in the packaging about the switches and the effects they have without having to leave their buyers guessing.

I did most of the testing in the Default switch setting (both switches down). I did play around with the switches and I liked the Default setting, so I just stuck with it. The “Default” and “Vocal” settings sounded similar and I liked these 2 settings better than the “Bass” and “Detailed”.

Sources Used
  • Shanling M3s
  • Fiio Q1 MkII
Personally I enjoyed the Legacy 3 on a more neutral source (Shanling M3s). The Fiio Q1 MkII has quite a bit or roll off in the treble and it didn't seem to suit the Legacy 3.

Albums and music listened to
  • Chicago’s Questions 67 & 68
  • Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac
  • Aladdin Original Broadway Recording
  • Bastille - All This Bad Blood
  • Fun. - Aim and Ignite
Bass (Score: 8.5/10)

This is one of the aspects of the sound that really made me fall head over heels for the Legacy 3. The attack of the kick drums and toms are quite sharp with a really natural decay. I really enjoyed the drums in the intro of Chicago’s Questions 67 and 68. Many times I would find the drums having a little too much reverb and not enough punch but the Legacy 3 hits the sweet spot for me. In summary, the dynamic driver bass really impresses.

Mids (Score: 8/10)

I find the mids in the Legacy 3 tuned much to my liking. It is relatively laid-back but steady and firm throughout the frequency range. The mids do not take center stage in the L3 but are layered very well. Male vocals and instruments in the lower mids sound very mellow and soothing. In the upper mids, the female vocals and higher-ranging instruments like the trumpets sound melodious and silky smooth. What I liked especially is that at no one point did the Legacy 3 threaten to sound shrill or out of control. All of this was done while maintaining a very overall coherent mid section.

Treble (Score: 7/10)

I didn’t have any problems with the treble. It performed up to expectations and remained “lowkey” if I may put it that way. It blends well with the upper mids and does without any weird peaks in sound. Perhaps the naturalness of treble was the best thing here. I really like the sound of the snares and Hi Hats on the Legacy 3, especially when listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Sugar Daddy. There was no harshness and the treble had a big role in this. The reason for me not rating the treble as high is because of the seemingly loss of overall microdetails. This IEM may seem lacking some sparkle in some tracks. Although I would say this is a real plus for people who are sensitive to sibilance. Looking at the frequency response, the Legacy 3 plays it safe in the 7-10k region.

Misc

I really liked the soundstage on these. It is slightly above average and that’s quite impressive especially for IEMs in this price range. The imaging is well done with how everything is layered pretty evenly. Separation is decent. Listening to Aladdin's One Jump Ahead, everything comes to life and each voice and instrument sounds right where it's meant to be. It really is an experience.

Overall

I rated this earphone relatively high for its overall sound as it’s really the cohesiveness and musicality of this pair of earphones that won me over. I don’t deny there are minor flaws in this IEM, but the things that it set out to do – it does it so darn right. For example, the BGVP DM6 (SG$200) trounces the Thieaudio Legacy 3 in detail retrieval, but I would still pick the Legacy 3 any day given how much more well-tuned and cohesive music sounds on the Legacy 3. You can really tell Thieaudio has put a lot of effort into tuning these and this is a huge leap in the right direction.







Conclusion


The Thieaudio Legacy ticks many boxes for me and I find myself falling more and more in love with this IEMs AND the music I listen to with each passing day. In my book, that’s how I know this is a great earphone and it will be one I keep with me for a long time to come. 2020 may be a rough year but the Legacy 3 has made it into my list of things that made it better. Can it get better from here? Of course, there are things that the Legacy 3 can do better such as detail retrieval and perhaps more noticeable changes in sound profiles with the switches. I am hopeful for what Thieaudio has in store for us in the future and this is a powerful contender in this price bracket of $100-$200.
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CT007
CT007
I think the treble on this is perfection. I wouldn't change it at all. It's extremely hard to find treble that passes the Weird Al test 🏆📀:heavy_check_mark:
LostnAmerica
LostnAmerica
Mine will be here soon...:)
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twice2
twice2
Great write-up, youre good with words.
Pros: balanced, mature V-signature
no harshness, or sibilants
audiophile claim and fantastic stage
Cons: it lacks a little bit of sub-bass
the mids could be crisper
dip switches have almost no effect
Rating: 8.7
Sound: 8.5

Intro
The VOYAGER 3 made me want more THIEAUDIO products and fortunately I didn't have to wait too long for another listening impression. THIEAUDIO is a project of the well known and well sorted online distributor LINSOUL AUDIO, if you are looking for Asian manufacturers. I was given the LEGACY 3 and what can I say, I am more and more taken with the L3 and for me the better and more mature IEM compared to the V3. There is nothing to complain about in terms of price.
Even if the LEGACY 3 is of course no endgame, it convinces me with its audiophile all-rounder qualities. I am really looking forward to the LEGACY 9, if I should get the chance to listen to it sometime.

20200513_220822.jpg

Handling
The LEGACY 3 comes in the same beautiful packaging as the VOYAGER 3, where THIEAUDIO has come up with something that is not 0815. The packaging can be opened like a book and reveals inside a large and attractive imitation leather case with lots of storage space. Inside there is a good silicone tip selection, even if I still would have wished for foamtips and a wonderful 8-core cable. This is however different in haptics and coloring (okay black is not a color) than the V3. I even find it better, because it feels softer and looks more filigree.

The housing is available in three versions: BLUE-AW11 (blue with glittering faceplate), Mystique and Clockworks. I won't say anything about the Clockworks design, but I find Mystique, or BLUE-AW11 more appealing, but they also cost an extra charge. You can also have the L3 custom made for a little more than 50 €, which was also the case with the V3. Great!

The L3 is a bit more compact than the V3 and also has smaller and rounder sound tubes, which has a positive effect on the wearing comfort. But with a custom, this doesn't matter anymore.
The L3 also uses two dip-switches to influence the sound in theory.

The isolation is excellent and the universal version also has a custom feeling.

20200513_220954.jpg

Sound
With the VOYAGER 3 I have already complained a little bit about not having enough changes when changing the dip switches. Out of the 4 touted sound changes only two became effective, which make a real difference. Well, with LEGACY 3 the influence of this technique is only to be guessed. One My Bass less here, one My Treble more there. The mids don't care about all that anyway. To be honest, it doesn't make sense to write anything about the individual settings. I've been confronted with delusions, thinking that I can hear the difference. That's for everyone to decide for themselves. If anyone is interested, I will write the review using the configuration 1on/2off. But in the end it doesn't matter to me, because even if the settings are nearly identical, the LEGACY 3 is a fantastic IEM in its basic signature.

The bass is very pleasant, it lacks some sub-bass and pressure from below, but it makes up for that with its detailed, dry, soft and dynamic character. The L3 is not a bass IEM, but a very balanced and natural sounding IEM with a slight V-signature. The bass has enough weight to give music the impact it needs, but he leaves it as far as possible, so the L3 doesn't give excessive emphasis in the low end. In contrast to the fast rolling, somewhat bloated BA bass of the YOYAGER 3, which however convinced me with its warm, fast and full-bodied nature, the bass of the L3 is more balanced, deeper playing and more consistent in level. It's not the tightest either, but with its decay it sounds quite natural and not sterile, which would also be untypical for a dynamic driver. In addition, it has texture and a distinctive reproduction of details. Very good dynamic bass, but with upward potential.

Even if the midrange is slightly pushed back a bit in the V-signature, it doesn't matter much. Vocals don't impose themselves, but they are very well placed in the mix, with a slight tendency towards the front. They have a natural timbre and get along completely without any unpleasant accompaniments. Even in rock music they still sound relaxed and airy without being compressed. In addition, the mids dissolve wonderfully and manage to build up emotions with ease. It doesn't make any difference what you put in front of them, I can't make out any gross blunders or discolorations. Very balanced and harmonious. Nevertheless they are not perfect. Sometimes they are almost a bit too smooth and I wish for a bit more clarity and you will hardly believe it: hardness. Nevertheless a real all-purpose weapon.

The highs pick up where the mids left off. Like the VOYAGER 3, they don't have an extraordinary expansion and are more concerned with safety, but the big bonus is that they don't have the sibilant emphasis like the V3. In addition they sound a bit more airy, which is good for the stage in the vertical position. All the necessary musical information is provided here as well, but you can still enjoy it after hours. Transparent and lively with audible micro details. As with the bass and the midrange, this is a high standard that also has substance.

The stage really has to be praised. It is split up into several audible layers and has a distinct character in width as well as in depth, although this is more evident in the former. In contrast to the V3, it opens up more in the vertical direction and also in the horizontal direction it has a slight upper hand.

20200513_221050.jpg

Outro
The VOYAGER 3 is in its price range an IEM with an unusual and interesting signature, with good technical features. The LEGACY 3 is more old-fashioned, but also more serious and adult. For me it can trump the V3 in all areas, even if THIEAUDIO with the LEGACY 3 is still far from reaching the end. If you put performance and price of the LEGACY 3 in context, it is really worth its money for my taste and I can recommend it as an audiophile all-rounder without restrictions, as long as you are not a quantitative bass fanatic or treble head.

In short, I would like to draw the line at the similarly priced SPRING, which I also rate at eye level, but for other reasons. Compared to the SPRING, the L3 sounds fuller and more mature. But the SPRING has the clearer highs and expansion, as well as subjectively higher transparency. In total it is tighter and brighter, which is refreshing. The LEGACY can score with more naturalness and calmness without getting boring. Both very good IEMs, but differently aligned, except the bass, which is qualitatively quite similar, with more body on the L3.

TA LEGACY 3.jpg
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CT007
CT007
What IEMs would you rate significantly higher than the L3 and Spring?

The white, and Blue-AW11, shell design is now available for the L3, as of today. Only clockwork and mystic were available when I bought mine, sadly.

Here is a FR comparison I hacked together, between L3, Spring and Starfield(from yourself & @Otto Motor) :

DallaPo
DallaPo
Nothing in the same price category that I would rate as significantly better
LostnAmerica
LostnAmerica
Ha e a pair in the way, probably arrive on the 1st or 2nd... also the Penon Sphere just for comparisons.
Cheers
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