Table of Contents
Most of you would already be familiar with the ThieAudio brand: Linsoul’s entry into the headphone and IEM game starting with the Phantom planar headphone, and then branching out into the Legacy and Voyager series of IEMs.
In case you aren’t aware, I’ve actually reviewed the whole ThieAudio IEM lineup prior to their newest releases, the links for which are listed below:
- ThieAudio Legacy 3
- ThieAudio Voyager 3
- ThieAudio Legacy 9
- ThieAudio Voyager 14
- ThieAudio Clairvoyance
- ThieAudio Monarch
It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the ThieAudio lineup… at least until the Clairvoyance and the Monarch. Now, in my opinion ThieAudio has struck gold with the recent release of their “tribrid twins”; two anomalous IEMs that posed as big threats to the entire sub-kilobuck market with their presence, and represents a huge turning point for ThieAudio from a brand that was simply “alright” to one that was actively leading in the industry.
ThieAudio now continues their… legacy (heh) with the Legacy 5, a five driver hybrid that slots itself right in-between the 3-driver Legacy 3 and the 9-driver Legacy 9. Does it have what it takes to be the headliner for ThieAudio’s golden geese?
Product page: https://www.linsoul.com/products/thieaudio-legacy-5
Driver configuration: 4BA + 1DD hybrid
This Legacy 5 was kindly provided by Linsoul.
Signature & Tonality
The signature of the Legacy 5 can be describe as a very mild downslope, where the bass is most prominent (though only by a very slight amount), followed by the mids and finally the treble. Using the existing classifications I often use, I think it’s probably closed to being “neutral”.
Like the twins before it, the Legacy 5 has a largely unique sound relative to the rest of the ThieAudio lineup, with more of a “Mangird Tea”-ish inspired tuning going for it. Then again, you could make the argument that it’s closer to the twins more than anything; it’s a weak argument sure, but an argument nonetheless.
Comparison courtesy of the Graph Comparison Tool
Some of the hallmarks are there, for instance the sub-bass focused boost and possibly the upper midrange, though it’s far more subdued in the Legacy 5 compared to the twins.
Overall I’d consider the tonality of the Legacy 5 to be capable, but unimpressive. That isn’t necessarily a “mark of death” though; the biggest problems I found in the L5 is the relatively conservative upper mids which kill a lot of energy and bite in the Legacy 5’s overall presentation. That’s not mentioning the lack of upper treble extension, which isn’t doing its clarity much favours either.
On the positives, its bass emphasis is nice and doesn’t bloat at all, and apart from the nitpicks highlighted the L5 is pretty non-offensive and works for a wide range of music without overly-favouring any particular range of instruments.
The Legacy 5 is something that seems like… how to say, a garnish short of a full cocktail. It is so close to being well-and-truly “excellent” but there are just small deficiencies here and there that makes the overall presentation devoid of that necessary “wow-factor” needed to distinguish itself from the competition. But then again, perhaps the lack of complete dealbreakers in its tuning can be a secret sauce by itself.
Tone grade: B
Really, the biggest issues that I have with the Legacy 5 currently is the treble extension and the relatively closed-in imaging. The L5 just lacks that last bit of upper octave air that gives alto-sopranic instruments the proper realism and depth for true fidelity. The imaging is… somewhat below average, not completely “between-the-eyes” narrow and lacking spatial cues, but overall wouldn’t be the first thing I’d reach for when looking for something immersive.
Apart from those, I would consider the Legacy 5 as “good”. Good resolution and definition that doesn’t make give me the usual “blunted” sensations that typical low-res IEMs do. It’s not excellent “top-tier” material, but completely serviceable.
Technical grade: B
The $250 market isn’t as hard-fought a battle as the sub-$200, but nonetheless still plenty competitive as more and more typically-budget brands break out into higher price points.
Probably the closest comparison I would the pit the Legacy 5 against would be FiiO’s FH5, another hybrid with the
same similar driver configuration ( 4 3+1), similar price point ($260) and similar tuning. Now for my own money I would personally pick the FH5 for the slightly meatier bass response and more even mids, but for the most part I would put the two as sidegrades catering to different tastes rather one being outright superior to the other.
(Probably big praise to ThieAudio too, considering that FiiO hasn’t quite replicated the FH5’s special sauce with their subsequents models. As far as I know.)
Does the Legacy 5 perform acceptably at the $250? Absolutely, especially given that the average price of IEMs at its particular performance level (by IEF standards) is around $400, so it handily earns the title of “Worth the price”.
But whether or not it “redefines the price bracket”… eh, maybe if it were $100 less.
Value Rating: ★
Following up after the Monarch and the Clairvoyance is one tough act, and while I’d have to admit to feeling a slight bit of disappointment that the Legacy 5 wasn’t another market-shattering release like the twins… it is still a decent IEM with good value in the grand scheme of things.
If you’re looking for a balanced hybrid IEM that’s relatively safe in terms of tonality and doesn’t completely break the bank like the usual top-tier selections, the Legacy 5 should be on your lookout list.