The Thieaudio Legacy 3: too little, too late...
Welcome back to the Neighborhood! It’s Your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer with InToit Reviews.
I’ve put off this review long enough! Today, we’re going to take a look at the Thieaudio Legacy 3…
You might want to grab a drink for this one… perhaps something on the rocks to ease the pain. So let’s get InToit!
Let’s start things off with the build. The build is plastic, but of decent quality. It is neither the most solid thing, nor overly light-weight. The version I have comes with a black cable, which is also neither great nor terrible, but is relatively soft. It sounds fine, but ultimately, I found that it was aesthetically somewhat plasticky-feeling for a cable that comes with an IEM of this price.
Did I mention the price yet? The ThieAudio Legacy 3 is $119-129 dollars for the universal variants, and $189 for the CIEM (Custom) variant. The version I have are a sparkle blue and purple color, and I have to say that I do like the look here. And, I like it better than the clock-work or mystic options on Linsoul’s website. This particular IEM was sent in by a viewer of the channel, and I have to say he has exquisite taste in IEM-colorway stylings.
There are dip switches on the back of the IEM, ThieAudio includes a small, tuning fork to help with their adjustment. The switches adjust the treble and the bass. There have been a number of reviews that say they have not noticed a difference from adjusting these, and I’m honestly shocked by this, as I thought the presentation changed somewhat drastically. To my ears, it doesn’t really adjust the amount of treble or bass per say, but instead adjust the level of forwardness of each. For example, with both switches up the sound-stage shrunk a bit, and overall presentation was more forward. Because of this, in my testing, I preferred the first switch in the down-position, and the second switch in the up-position. For reasons that will come apparent when we talk about when we get to the sound.
So, the sound of these have been hyped, but unfortunately, I found the Thieaudio Legacy to fall short of my expectations in most areas- especially considering its price and comparisons amongst others that are available in the current IEM landscape/market.
Let’s start with the good. I really like the staging of this set, as it is somewhat holographic in its scope. The stage is somewhat wide, and the position of the listener is one from which he or she appears to be looking down upon the musical landscape. The scope of the sound appears to take place within an elongated, oblong circle. Imaging is also a strong-suite of this set, and instrument distinction and separation was also fine. But this is just about where my praise ends for the Legacy 3.
I found that timbre was somewhat dull, or “just off” with every tip I tried- except for Tripowin small-sized foams with a deep insertion. Treble presence and clarity also suffered without a deeper insertion. A lot of people have complained about “missing” treble in this set. But I ultimately don’t think this is the case. The treble may be somewhat relaxed, but there is some treble presence here. You just have to flip the second dip switch to the up-position, and insert them very deep to notice it. I think this is because all the L3 sets are really only tuned for CIEM use, and it shows. Perhaps related to this character, general resolution is somewhat murky, but, again, also d somewhat improve with a deeper insertion- especially in upper mids and treble.
Detail is simply average in the L3, and most detail occurred in the mid-range. While, mid-range presence did audibly suffer post 4K for a bit, I mostly found the mids to be present and pleasing- even though It is a mild V-shaped presentation overall.
The bass for this IEM received a lot of praise initially. But I am uncertain as to why? While it does have good presence, I found the bass to be muddy, overly looming, diffuse, and particularly unresolving. It also lacked any kind of tonal accuracy, musicality, and was kind of just a hazy mess. There’s a GIF, that I’ll post below that I think is an accurate depiction or characterization of the bass sonics.
And last but not least, the most disappointing part of this set, to me, is its lack of transients. There is limited initial impact beyond the thud of the bass, and decay is basically non-existent. Sonics are simply there, and seemingly never resolve; evoking limited emotionality from the listener.
The Thieaudio Legacy is an IEM that a number of reviewers have hyped, but can’t stand up to the test of time. If this had come out a few years ago, I would think more of these than I do now. Unfortunately for the L3, there are just too many good, cheaper options that outshine it in the current IEM landscape. For the $120 that these things cost, you could buy a KBEAR KS2, a Jade Audio EA1 or EA3, and Moondrop S.S.R., and be more content. Before this review, I had entertained the Custom IEM variant, but after hearing this set, I’m probably going to pass, even though it still represents a better value proposition as a CIEM.
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