I’m a little late with this review, Sorry to our readers that have been asking for my thoughts on ThieAudio Legacy 3. The positive is that I’ve had plenty of time to listen and get my thoughts together. Now that I’ve gotten my apology out of the way let’s get it. This is TLR Technology’s review of ThieAudio Legacy 3.
I guess I can go ahead and spoil it here by saying ThieAudio Legacy 3 are absolutely fantastic. I kind of expected it though with my prior experience with products sold by Linsoul. There was something that I didn’t expect though!
The first thing that you need to know its ThieAudio is what is know as ChiFi or (Chinese High Fidelity). In short, what you need to know is ChiFi has reduced the cost to get great sounding audio gear greatly. In fact, ThieAudio is sold through Linsoul Audio’s website which is also the distributor for the now legendary budget Tin HiFi brand that brought us the T2. You can read our review of the T2 and T2 pro IEM here.
I guess I can go ahead and spoil it here by saying ThieAudio Legacy 3 are absolutely fantastic. I kind of expected it though with my prior experience with products sold by Linsoul. There was something that I didn’t expect though! You’ll need to read on for that though ;P
I’ll start where I normally do, the packaging. If you read the review of the Tin HiFi T2 earbuds you shouldn’t be shocked. ThieAudio Legacy 3 ships in a thick and extremely quality cardboard box, something that you’d expect from Apple’s Beats line of headphones. It’s so nice you’ll likely debate throwing it in the recycle bin. So, it’s safe to say the Legacy 3 will likely arrive in pristine condition as they are also solidly encased in foam.
ThieAudio Legacy 3 Presentation
After you’ve stopped thinking to yourself “This is a nice box” and actually open it is where the real magic begins. Inside the Legacy 3 are presented like jewelry. First, the box doesn’t just open, Nah, that would be basic. Located on the side is a ribbon you pull that slides the box apart revealing the Legacy 3. Once you have it open you will be graced by the 2 IEM’s and below them, a hard leather pouch with a magnetic catch fitted in microfiber-covered foam. It just shouts luxury. Below that, you’ll find the actual cable which is 8 wire braided, and the other ear tips. ThieAudio only ships with 3 sets. Small, medium, and large. All of which are a soft silicon rubber type. Overall I’d give the unboxing experience an 8.5 out of 10.
I assume that you probably said at least in your mind if not out loud “8 braid cable”. Yes, you read that right the cable is indeed 8 wires from the 3.5mm jack up to the point the cable splits for each earbud. At that point, it’s a 4 wire braid to each ear that terminates a 2 pin connector. ThieAudio has applied clear heat shrink to the cable near the 2 pin connector that helps route and secures the cable over your ears.
Overall I like what ThieAudio has done with the cable but I do have some thoughts about it. The braid is nice and tight but becomes rather loose once it splits to each ear. I wish the braid would have stayed tight as the looseness of the wire makes it seem more fragile. Also, the cable doesn’t have a clear jacket like the Tin Hifi IEM, I think you could probably jump rope with that cable and it would still work. I just don’t have the same confidence in the Legacy 3 cable… but to be fair I have had no problems with it, and the plastic jacket would likely make the cable too stiff and heavy to be comfortable or usable.
The ear tips I mentioned above are the simple soft black silicon tips that you likely already have on a pair of IEM. You receive 3 sizes, small, medium, and large. The medium size fit my ears and did a decent enough job. I’ve not bothered to install any other tips, such as the comply memory foam tips that I use on many of the IEM we have. I do understand that this won’t be the case for many people though. So I do wish they would have included more ear tips similar to the Tin HiFi IEM, you can open a small store with the crazy amount of ear tips they include with the T2’s. Just be aware that you might have to supply your own tips, but that holds true for a lot of IEM so I don’t view that as a knock-on ThieAudio.
The Legacy 3
3;DR Now for the main event! I went into this review without major expectations. However, from my time with the T2 that Linsoul was delivering some fantastic products. I also knew that it would take something serious to knock the T2 from one of my top value recommendations. The bad news is the Legacy 3 hasn’t replaced the Tin HiFi T2, the good news they sound way better but cost twice the price. So if you want a good pair of IEM to just throw around get the T2. However, if you want an even better sounding, nicer fitting, beautiful pair of IEM the Legacy 3 is easily worth the asking price.
I’ll start with the looks of the Legacy 3. The least expensive version are the universal that I tested. They come in the mystique color scheme that I have or a see-through resin with gears that look similar to something that you might see in old school pocket watch. No matter which style you choose they will almost certainly turn heads. The story doesn’t end there though if you choose you can order a set of custom-molded Legacy 3. Yes, you read that right for less than $200 US you can get your very own custom fitted IEM. What is even cooler is you can choose the shell color (the section that goes in the ear and holds the drivers) they have about 20 possible choices. The faceplate (The outside that people see) can also be replaced by any of the 50 different options available on the Linsoul website.
ThieAudio Legacy 3 as the name suggests has 3 drivers. One is a 10mm nano dynamic driver that delivers the bass and lower mids. The other 2 divers are B.A. (balanced armature) which will handle the upper mids and treble. The obvious benefit of a multiple driver design is the ability to better separate sounds. A single driver isn’t trying to cover the complete frequency range. Next, you can better optimize the tuning with driver choice and placement within the housing. While I’m talking about housing it’s made of medical-grade resin and the 2 halves of the housing are joined and the seam is smooth and practically invisible to the eye. Overall, the Legacy is one solid IEM, from design to execution.
Let’s talk about the fit. In the words of Kevin Hart “I wasn’t ready”. When I popped them out of the foam and looked at the shape I didn’t know what to expect as most of the IEM that I have or that I’ve tested all had a more traditional shape. They are round or oval-shaped and you shove the tip in your ear and you hope they fit or your find a tip and make it fit the best you can…
The Legacy 3 was completely the opposite, they fit like a glove, in my ear anyway. Keep in mind that everyone’s ears are different so you might not have the exact same experience that I did. So, yeah. The fit slips right into your ear the housing feels like it was molded for me… but it wasn’t. Someone at ThieAudio obviously did their home work when it comes to fit. Earlier this year I reviewed the Google Pixel Buds, and google scanned thousands of ears to develop its shape and the Legacy 3 fit WAY better. I’m just raving now, but I think you get my point they feel and fit fantastic. I’ve had extended listening secession and never felt any pain, or the need to remove them from my ears.
Dip Switches ?
I’m sure by now you’ve noticed the dip switches, if you haven’t the Legacy 3 has 2 dip switches on each IEM. The position can be both up or down, or either toggle up or down. Before I go into much more detail the toggles will offer very minor differences. They don’t completely change the sound, it’s a small refinement at best. This is a good thing to me as the basic tuning is pretty decent as it is.
The settings are both down (default / balanced), both up (detailed). Next right switch up and left side down (vocal), right switch down, and left switch up (Bass). Let me recap that again, 4 eq modes, balanced, vocal, detailed, and bass.
I’ve kept you all waiting long enough, so let’s get into the sound.
Bass– ThieAudio are no bass cannons but they aren’t anemic either. They seem to have just the right amount of impact in the default balanced setting to express the song as intended… if that makes any sense… basically if a song has bass you will know it, if it doesn’t the Legacy will give you what’s there. Moving the dip switches to the bass setting does slightly bump the bass but if you are looking for a bass IEM this isn’t it. However, the bass response from the 10mm dynamic driver is impressive at this price.
Mids– The mids is where I feel life is really added to music and I think mids can really make or break IEM, Headphones, etc. Once again the Legacy 3 doesn’t disappoint. The mids are really the high point in my opinion. The clarity from the B.A. and dynamic driver seem to blend perfectly from the lower to upper mid-range. There is a level of separation that allows vocals to shine in their space while still providing instruments clarity in their space.
Treble -Let me find a good way to explain the treble. It is a bit recessed in the mix. It is similar to the bass where it plays its role and completes the overall package. The Legacy plays it a bit safe, again which could be a good thing. They don’t approach the level of the T2 Pro that can become sibilant rather quickly depending on the song and the source. Again, like the bass the treble is enough that it conveys the intent of the artist, it just doesn’t overdo it or get to that level of fun bright sound right before the sibilant range.
This is probably the most important section in this review. I know my break down of the sound might not sound positive but you would be very wrong. ThieAudio Legacy 3 punch well above their weight in my opinion. The bass and treble support the mids the same way instruments and backup sings support the lead singer. They aren’t intended to be equal, that would be an audible mess. This is balance is what the Legacy 3 with its single dynamic and two B.A. driver seems to get right. It’s not a master of balance but you can tell it has defiantly studied with some of the masters.
As an overall package at a starting price around the U.S., $120.00 and custom fit and color options are unheard of anywhere close to the $214.00 price of the Legacy 3 customs. If you’re looking to try out a hybrid IEM with multiple drivers the Legacy 3 is a fantastic place to start.
Legacy 3 Has Game
So… We have the new Xbox Series X in the office and well I decided to connect the Legacy 3… To say my jaw dropped was an understatement. While I do enjoy the Legacy 3 for music, I think I might like them even more for gaming. The Xbox allows you to use Dolby Atmos to deliver a very well implemented 360 degrees sound experience and well the Legacy works more or less perfectly.
The Legacy 3 doesn’t have a huge sound stage but what it does have is just enough that you feel present in the game. The imaging of the sound seems to place people and items exactly where you’d expect. Gunshots and explosions in Call Of Duty feel appropriate without being ear piercing. Rumbling engines and the symphony of exhaust in Forza sounds full and deep with an impactful rumble. Lastly, the new hip hop emotes in Fortnite will have you
bobbing your head as people spam them before each match begins. Honestly, the Legacy are only missing a microphone. I’d still buy them for gaming anyway as you can connect a USB mic and the PS5 has one built into the controller.