General Information

IMG_6902_1024x1024.jpg

Ground Control to Major Tom
As with its elder brother, the Voyager 14, the inspiration for a more affordable in ear monitor came from our aspirations to set new bars as to what professional earphones can achieve. By optimizing the number of drivers to three balanced armatures, we effectively lowered the cost of the monitor, but maintained the sonic integrity of the Voyager 14 by utilizing the same comprehensive cross-over and tuning strategy. The Voyager 3 was designed specifically with musicians in mind, aiming for brilliant technicalities as well as a musical tuning. From a neutral reference tuning, the midline was elevated ever so slightly to achieve a more present and engaging vocal and instrument presentation. We also extended the treble reach to enhance the timbre and air of string and percussion instruments. With its emphasis on clear vocal and instrument articulation, and audiophile-standard detail retrieval, we set the Voyager 3 to be the ideal in ear monitor for the stage and everyday enjoyment.
A Perfect Seal for the Perfect Performance
We began our journey understanding how crucial a perfect fit is for on-stage performance. To ensure a perfect seal, we elongated the reach of the stem and the base to comfortably match every ear. Analyzing many human ear moulds, we adopted the perfect contours of the housing body to nestle along the outer cavity of the ear. The shell cavity is composed of medical-grade acrylic resin to sustain both comfort and safety. Our design effectively produces up to 32dB of noise isolation and is perfect for both the stage and busy daily commutes.
Sound Components for a Better Sound
We selected two of the American-made Knowles CI-22955 balanced armature drivers to cover the bass and midline independently in a three-way crossover system that utilizes a low-pass and mid-pass filter. The CI-22955 is one of the biggest single driver balanced armatures that Knowles provides, and its wide frequency range is perfect for utilization in the low-mid range. Our low-pass filter focuses all of the 22955’s energy in producing deep, impactful, and punchy bass, while the second 22955 driver is free to drive the midline. By integrating two of the same driver models for the low and mids separately, we achieved an extremely coherent low-mid presentation that is also free of frequency overlap. The trebles are handled by the gold standard Knowles ED-29869 balanced armature driver, and tuned with our high-pass filter to deliver silky highs that highlight the shimmer of instruments, without any piercing or shill overtones.
Technical Excellence Meets User Preference
The three balanced armature drivers and their three-way crossover are matched with two separate sound bores at the stem to further enhance the distinct frequency separation of the system. The integration of a low and high tuning switch then allows the user to adjust the level of the bass and treble to fit their personal musical preference. This mechanism is the same as that found in the flagship Voyager 14 model, and allows up to four different tuning implementations to match every user. Now that’s what we call flexibility!
Ultra-pure Replaceable Cable
The final component of the Voyager 3 was finding a high-quality cable that is fit to deliver the perfect sonic properties of this unit. We decided on an ultra-pure eight-core silver-plated OCC copper cable that utilizes a 2-pin connection. The soft cable is comfortable for both long on-stage performances as well as listening sessions. The utilization of a 2-pin connector (which we believe is better in longevity compared to standard MMCX connectors) also means you can swap out the cable with any other cable of your liking, thus effectively elongating the life of the Voyager 3. Voyager 3, it’s your start to a new adventure!

Latest reviews

brideshead

New Head-Fier
A Gem Let Down By QDC QC
Pros: Warm & Detailed Sound
Very Comfortable
Cons: Fragile QDC Connectors
Sisyphean Replacement Process
The Voyager 3, or as I like to call them-the V3 sounds excellent. its has a good stage, accurate details, & a warm low end that has a good punch but never overwhelms. A very enjoyable IEM for listening to complex music, you will really be able to take in every detail.

So why not a 5 star? I mean they sound great right?
Why not more detail about the sound & comfort of the shells- that was awfully brief.
Well, the thing is those details aren’t that important because I’m going to tell you to not to buy them.

Here’s why, there are two issues. The first is something other reviewers have mentioned, the QDC connectors are terrible. They are extremely fragile & prone to breakage. This is not good, but wouldn’t normally be a deal breaker. After all most companies are good with replacements.

However, most companies are not Linsoul Audio. The replacement process with this company is the single worst customer-service experience I have ever had. You will be asked for information you have already provided multiple times, you will be promised things will be sent out ‘this week’ but weeks later nothing will have happened, & you will be sent packages with only an apartment number & a post code- that of course do not arrive. It will take months, & there will be no progress & you will still not have a replacement item.

So, I can hardly recommend this item considering that there is a high chance your QDC connectors will have issues, & you will have to deal with the worst customer service team known to man, women or child. I regret not doing more research about this company on head-fi & other websites- but hopefully my warning can do some good.

I have also posted this review to Linsouls site, however there is a good chance they may delete it. If that does happen, I will update this review accordingly.

Attachments

  • 5BF59A7A-9C22-495B-A55D-7A31FCE428BD.jpeg
    5BF59A7A-9C22-495B-A55D-7A31FCE428BD.jpeg
    791.7 KB · Views: 0
  • A2644172-C71A-4C07-922A-E5443799AF5E.jpeg
    A2644172-C71A-4C07-922A-E5443799AF5E.jpeg
    1 MB · Views: 0
Last edited:

FcConstruct

Head-Fier
Thieaudio Voyager 3 and Legacy 3 Dual Review
Pros: Tuning switches
Awesome cable
Cons: Middling technical ability
Tuning ranges from decent to not great
Not competitive at its price point
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. Also, this review is effectively identical to my Legacy 3 review on Head-Fi, with just the order of presentation flipped around.

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.

1603511213281.png

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.

1603511225559.png


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.

1603511240455.png

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.

Voyager 3:

1603511331361.png

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.

1603511341597.png

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.

1603511349008.png

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.

1603511363349.png
1603511370763.png

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.
1603511378584.png

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.
1603511386574.png


Legacy 3:

1603511289976.png

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.

1603511315359.png

You can see in this graph that regardless of what setting you're on, there's effectively no difference.
1603511323023.png

*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.

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.
  • Like
Reactions: harry501501
harry501501
harry501501
glad i read this before buying, cheers. good review

darmanastartes

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: build quality, cable,
Cons: average technicalities, switches affect too wide of a frequency range, tuning is not competitive in this price range
DSC07060.jpg
INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The ThieAudio Voyager 3 is an in-ear monitor (IEM) utilizing three balanced armature drivers per side. The Voyager 3 uses a three-way crossover with two separate sound bores. It also has low and high tuning switches which allow the user to adjust the level of bass and treble.

The ThieAudio Voyager 3 retails for $159.00 at Linsoul. I was provided with the Voyager 3 by Linsoul in exchange for a fair and objective review.

This review is also available on my blog: https://medium.com/bedrock-reviews/thieaudio-voyager-3-review-7dc97c42e848

SOURCES:
I have used the ThieAudio Voyager 3 with the following sources:
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to.

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
DSC07064.jpg
The ThieAudio Voyager 3 comes in a rectangular black cardboard box. The box is unmarked apart from a circular seal emblazoned with the ThieAudio logo. The package I received included a zippered semi-rigid carry case, a detachable 2-pin cable, and a small pin-like tool that resembles a SIM card ejector tool for adjusting the tuning switches.

The carry case exterior is brown synthetic leather with a cloth-backed interior. It has a small mesh pocket on the roof of the lid for storing accessories. The case is one of the roomiest I have seen included with an IEM of any price.

BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:
DSC07080.jpg
The ThieAudio Voyager 3 has clear acrylic housings with brightly colored faceplates and a pseudo-custom fit. The faceplates have a wood grain pattern and are inlaid with the ThieAudio logo in silver text. What I assume is the unit serial number is printed in silver on the inner face of the housing. The BAs, wiring, crossover, and BA tubes are all visible through the shell. The 2-pin connectors protrude slightly from the surface of the housing and are compatible with QDC-type cable connections. The sound bores have no exterior mesh cover. The nozzles lack a lip for securing eartips but I did not have any eartips come loose using the Voyager 3. The nozzles are thick and wide, which could limit their use with aftermarket tips. In addition to the stock silicone eartips, I used Moondrop MIS T55 eartips with the Voyager 3.
DSC07071.jpg
The eight-core silver-plated OCC copper 2-pin cable included with the ThieAudio Voyager 3 is gorgeous. It is soft, flexible, and resists tangling. It is moderately microphonic, but this can be mitigated with the clear plastic bead-like chin-adjustment slider. It has a straight 3.5 mm termination with metal hardware and good strain relief. The Y-split is metal as well. Both the Y-split and the 3.5mm jack have carbon fiber inlays. The cable uses preformed clear plastic earguides without memory wire. The 2-pin connectors have raised markings to indicate left and right, but the markings are so faint that they require scrutiny to distinguish. As in other similar cases, I would prefer to have colored indicators to distinguish the channels from each other.

COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:
DSC07082.jpg
The ThieAudio Voyager 3 is intended to be worn cable-up. The earpieces have a moderate insertion depth, and while I found them to be comfortable for the most part, the thickness of the nozzle may be troublesome to those with narrow ear canals. Secureness of fit and isolation are excellent.

MEASUREMENTS:
Voyager 3.jpg
ThieAudio Voyager 3 tuning options (left side only)
My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The headphones are driven using my Element, which has an output impedance of no more than 1 ohm. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. There is a resonant peak around 8k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.

SOUND:
The ThieAudio Voyager 3 has a V-shaped tuning in all its switch configurations. I find the ThieAudio Voyager 3 most enjoyable in its stock configuration, with neither switch activated.

With the low-frequency switch in the off position, the Voyager 3 has a mid-bass emphasis. The bass has adequate speed and respectable articulation but limited texture and impact. Bass resolution is middling. There is considerable mid-bass bleed into the lower midrange, which creates congestion. Switching the bass switch on elevates the sub-bass and the lower midrange, creating a more uniformly bassy presentation. I found this setting overwhelming and muddy.

With the high-frequency switch in the off position, the Voyager 3 has a warm, thick midrange. Male vocals have good body but female vocals sound slightly muffled and overall vocal intelligibility is below average. With the high-frequency switch on, vocal intelligibility, presence, and overall clarity improve. However, this comes at a significant cost to the smoothness of the midrange, introducing strain and sibilance. Midrange timbre has noticeable plasticity.

The lower treble is strongly emphasized. Although generally unfatiguing to my ears, there is severe upper treble roll-off. Air and detail retrieval are limited. The Voyager 3’s soundstage is average in both width and depth. Imaging and instrument separation are also average.

AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:
The ThieAudio Voyager 3 can be easily driven to a comfortable listening volume with a competent dongle. I did notice hiss with the Radsone Earstudio HUD100 USB DAC/AMP, but not with any of my other sources.

CLOSING WORDS:
DSC07083.jpg
The ThieAudio Voyager 3 is a strong effort in terms of physical design and build quality. However, I do not feel its tuning is competitive at this price point. The inclusion of tuning switches at its price point is novel, but I recommend future efforts by the company incorporate switches which target narrower frequency bands instead of splitting the frequency response down the middle.
  • Like
Reactions: Audio Fun

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Top