Hi all! Welcome back to The Neighborhood. Today we’re going to be taking a look at three IEMs that, in a number of ways, are completely different from one another; from build, to price, to driver configuration, and sound: the Thieaudio Legacy 2, The Tin HiFi T2 Evo, and the HZSOUND Heart Mirror. And, I want to make a number of points about each of these units, but I find it most appropriate to do so in comparison to one another. So, let’s… get InToit!
Let’s start with the builds, and begin with the Legacy 2. This is Thieaudio’s latest in the in the Legacy line. I never got to hear the Legacy 4 or 5, I think because Thieaudio was too scared to send them to me after the Legacy 3. Because the Legacy 3 was not a very good IEM in my book. I have yet to do a video of on the L3, and honestly, I’m not very motivated to do one, but I did do a written review, which has been up on the website for a long time now. So, if you want to know what I actually think about that IEM, head over to the website and take a look. A link will be posted in the description below. But, getting back to the Legacy 2, I definitely like this IEM more than the Legacy 3, at least overall.
Regarding the build more specifically. I liked a number of aspects, but disliked quite a bit more. First of all, I really like the blue case that’s included. It’s appearing to be leather, and Thieaudio, really stepped up their case game here.
Also, with regard to the actual IEM itself, these are extremely light weight, which seems like a plus. But they are so light weight in fact, that it might actually be a bad thing in long-term use. What I will harp on, is that the plastic used for the majority of the shell here seems to be relatively thin, of a weak construction, and barely a step above shells used in cheaper IEMs like the KZ ZST X. I do like the look of the faceplate on the outside of the IEM, but the nozzle has a slightly odd angle to it. It was not uncomfortable per say, but it certainly didn’t fit like a glove, and wouldn’t be something I would like to use daily or for extended use.
The connection as the base of the IEM was a “flush” two-pin-style, the cable provided did not mount flush and there was an obvious gap- leaving the two pins slightly exposed. And while thought the braided, silver-plated cable terminated nicely, was soft-to-the-touch, and remained tangle free throughout its use, the construction of the chin slider consisted of a very tawdry plastic ring, that cheapened this otherwise nice cable.
The tip selection for the Legacy 2 came with a set of clear silicones with a black bore, and an all-black silicone variant as well. I found the all-black version to be more comfortable in my ear canal, so most of my testing utilized these; however, I did listen to both and did not denote any major sonic differences.
As the IEM’s name suggests, the drivers utilized by the Legacy 2 are two in number- consisting of a Knowles (ED29689) Balanced Armature and a Beryllium Dynamic. So, the Legacy 2 is a hybrid configuration like the Legacy 3, but coherence was much better here. And unlike the Legacy 3, there were no dip switches here to adjust the tuning. So, this is somewhat of a stripped down, simplified unit in contrast to its predecessors.
But the Heart Mirror is even more simplified in comparison. Instead of a hybrid, the Heart Mirror is a single dynamic driven IEM. Its shell is comprised of what appears to be a decently weighty, rugged, polished-silver metal, and the size of the shell itself is also more compact, and seats in the ear extremely well. The cable on the Heart Mirror is also very similar to the Legacy 2 cable in that they are both silver in color and have a similar weave. The Heart Mirror’s cable is just a tad bit stiffer than the Legacy 2, but it has a nice metal chin slider and a somewhat recessed 2-pin connector that lowers slightly inside the IEM’s connection port. Imitation Type E silicone ear tips, and a grey carrying case (similar to that which came with the KBEAR Lark and KBEAR Neon) was also included. So, for around $40 dollars for the Heart Mirror, you get a lot for your money here, which is astonishing considering that the Legacy 2 is over twice the price.
The T2 Evo is sort of the in-between of the three. It’s also a singly dynamic driver with a metal shell like the heart mirror, and appears rugged, at least from that point of view. Nevertheless, it distinctively utilizes an MMCX connector, and the cable it comes with is definitely the worse of the three here rather you like MMCX or not. It kinks up rather easily, and tends to twist upon itself with regular use. It’s not like it’s the worse cable I’ve ever used, but it’s definitely the worse of the three I’m reviewing today. Positively, the cable uses a plastic bead as a chin-sinch that does work well and fits with the aesthesis of this device. Negatively, the fit was a bit too shallow due to the nozzle being too short with the included silicone ear tips. The ear hooks were also a bit too aggressive for my preferences and exacerbated the fit issues involving the short nozzle. As with the original T2 and T3, I preferred using their signature blue foam tips for both fit and sound.
Regarding their sound more specifically, let’s talk about what these three do well as a whole, because, believe it or not, there are some common threads here amongst the three. Then we’ll talk about why if any of these are really going to get a full-hearted recommendation from me.
So, all three of these guys image really well. Like surprisingly well for their price. Each of them also excels for the price when it comes to their staging properties and characteristics. For example, instrument distinction, separation, placement, and even transient responses were impressive for each of these; especially considering their respective price brackets. However; at the same time, I would urge people that pick one of these up not expect any of them to keep up with more expensive offerings. For example, none of these reach the level of something like the TRI Starsea, O.G. Tanchjim Hana, or even the Ikko OH10. Nevertheless, each presentation is relatively wide; with each IEM having a moderate amount of depth to its field. Resolution and detailing capabilities were also generally good and above average for their price, at least keeping up with others in their price-ranges in this regard. But that’s about where the praise for these ends. Unfortunately, all three of IEMs have some pretty fatal flaws which suggest that other offerings are ultimately more capable and easier to recommend than any of these three here.
Let’s start with the Legacy 2 and the Tin T2 Evo together. The major difficulty with both the Legacy 2 and the Tin 2 Evo is that each is pretty veiled, and not only lacking in treble sparkle, but also energy in general. Having said that, the Tin T2 Evo is the worse offender of the two, and the most anemic. And while I won’t end up recommending either of these IEMs for most people, at least not in the majority of circumstances, I might see myself recommending the Legacy 2 to someone who is particularly treble adverse. With that said, I don’t think there could possibly be any case where I would recommend to the Tin T2 Evo to anyone. This is because the Evo has many more, additional struggles, from its slightly metallic timbre to its thin, nasal-sounding vocals and pallid bottom-end. So, yeah… the T2 Evo is going to be “no go” in terms of a recommendation, while the Legacy 2 would be more of a rare, niche recommendation.
The HZSound Heartmirror, on the other hand, is a little bit harder not to recommend. What you get with the Heartmirror is a fairly neutral-ish sounding, mid-forward presentation that is probably best compared to (as others have done so already) the Moondrop S.S.R. This is an easy comparison to make, not only because these two IEMs are similarly priced, but also because they share similar sound profiles overall, with some key, notable differences. These notable differences occur in the Heartmirror’s, treble, bottom-end, and with its tonality. With regard to its treble, there is where the Heartmirror truly separates itself from the S.S.R. in that it actually has some decent treble extension going on here, while this was a shortcoming with the S.S.R. that many of its users came to complain about over the course of time.
The bottom-end of the Heartmirror is also different in terms of its quality and quantity in comparison the S.S.R. With the S.S.R. the bass tighter, and more detailed, but might be perceived by some as lacking in quantity. While you won’t get a ton more bass with the Heartmirror, it is notably elevated compared to the S.S.R. Yet, the Heartmirror’s bass is more diffuse, lacking in detail, and more one note-ish in comparison to the S.S.R. as well. So, better in quantity, if not in quality. And while we’re talking about low-ends, I will go ahead and say that although I think Thieaudio took a step forward in the bass department with the Legacy 2 in comparison to the Legacy 3, neither it nor the Heartmirror’s low-end is really that well executed. Nevertheless, all low-ends discussed in this review should be viewed as better than that of the low-end of the T2 Evo, which was almost non-existent.
But back the comparison between the S.S.R. and the Heartmirror. Timbre or tonality-wise, the Heartmirror falls on the bright-side of neutral, whereas the S.S.R. is more neutral to ever-so-slightly neutral-warm in its tonality. But, I have to say that I found the Heartmirror could be just a bit “too bright” at times; especially on brighter tracks when being played back on more neutral to bright sources. So, although I enjoyed the top-end presentation of the Heartmirror more than S.S.R., I still preferred the low-end and tonality of the S.S.R. overall. As such, the Heartmirror won’t end up replacing the S.S.R. as my recommendation for most who seek a $40 reference-like experience, that is, unless that person identifies themselves more as a treble-head. Then, and only then, would I give some serious thought to the Heartmirror instead.
To summarize, none of these three IEMs are really going to end up with a whole-hearted recommendation from me. If I had to recommend one of the three it would be the HZSound Heartmirror, but as I’ve already said, its low-end is not as detailed as I would like, its tonality can be a bit bright, and I find the S.S.R. to be the better IEM of the two overall, despite its lackluster treble. I’d also like to point out that if we include the S.S.R. amongst the four major IEMs discussed in this review, then three of the four are priced between $40 and $50 dollars, while the Legacy 2 is priced substantially higher at $99 dollars. Yet, even considering its nicer package of accessories, one isn’t really getting much more here with the Legacy 2 than it is from any of these others IEMs; especially not from a sonic perspective. I might even argue that one gets a better built IEM with the Heartmirror, as it has a more rugged shell, nicer ear tips, and a decent case and cable, in its package, in its own right. Perhaps, Thieaudio would consider lowering the cost of the Legacy 2 to around $50 dollars or so, as at above higher cost of $99, it really can’t compete. The competition beyond the $50 dollar price-point is simply too stiff for the Legacy 2 to keep up with, as IEMs like the Blon A8, Moondrop Aria, TRI Meteor, and Tin HiFi T3 Plus kind of make the Legacy 2 obsolete.
*Thanks to Linsoul for sending the Legacy 2 (L2) & T2 Evo the channel for review!
*Thanks to KeepHiFi for sending in the Heart Mirror for review!
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