Updated: Nov 19, 2020
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.
Driver Setup: 2 Balanced Armature and 1 Dynamic Driver (10mm Nano-membrane)
Price: $100 USD (Price can vary more depending on the design you selected)
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. It is available online if you are interested here.
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)
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: 8.6/10)
Switch info and Frequency response from Thieaudio
Measured Frequency Response for the Down-Down Switch Configuration
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”.
- 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: 9/10)
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: 8.5/10)
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: 8/10)
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 and airiness 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. This IEM may seem lacking some micro details and 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.
I really liked the soundstage on these. It is 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.
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.
The Thieaudio Legacy ticks many boxes for me and I find myself falling more and more in love with this IEM 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.
Overall Grade: A-
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