Review: THIEAUDIO Legacy 4
by Stephen Du on Dec 21, 2020
THIEAUDIO Legacy 4 - Pleasant Christmas Surprise to Self
I caught news of the Legacy 4 release in early December 2020 and decided to purchase it since I was thoroughly impressed with the Legacy 3 and Clairvoyance price to performance ratio. Ultimately, I was keen to find out if the additional SGD 100 (approx. USD 75) to the price tag and additional driver was worth it.
The Legacy 4 was purchased from a local distributor and this review is just me providing my humble opinion. Given the configuration of the Legacy 4, I decided run this monitors from the Cayin N3 Pro DAP simply because I like how the DAP handles dynamic drivers in Triode mode.
Unboxing and Package
The first thing that came to mind when receiving the Legacy 4 box was, “man, this box is huge!”. Tearing off the sealed plastic wrapping, I was greeted by a large square semi-hard zipper case in which four smaller items were nicely presented – set of ear tips (multiple sizes), a smaller hardcase replacing the faux leather case which came with the Legacy 3 and Clairvoyance, a simple manual for the monitor and last but not least, the Legacy 4 itself.
Hardcase and presentation – definitely impressive and professional but I’ll likely stick with the smaller case for daily use. Oh, added bonus for me was the inside of the hardcase had a soft and furry lining which would definitely prevent scratches.
Physical Design and Fit
The Legacy 4 also sparks the 3D printed shell similar to those used in the Legacy 3 and Clairvoyance. I assume the same applies to other Thieaudio models as well.
I have large ear canals and usually go with size L or double flanged tips. On the Legacy 3, I found the best fit with the Acoustune AET07 tips. Therefore, it was no surprise that the same combination gave me the best fit as the Legacy 4 had a similar size to the Legacy 3. Like the Legacy 3, the monitor shape sits in my ears nicely and comfortably (I tend to keep my monitors on for prolonged periods when working and on the go – something I do not recommend or encourage others to do).
Another noticeable difference is the Legacy 4 now comes with a white-silvery 4 wires cable unlike the black 8 wires cable on the Legacy 3. I am curious but decided to keep the comparison of stock cable for another time.
On this topic, I decided to approach this for a more fun and easy listening point of view. So here goes; three thing I noticed immediately when compared to the Legacy 3 are:
- It does better in the vocals department;
- Better controlled bass;
- Songs came out with better resolution!
I’ll start off with the bass. I am not a “basshead” and do not like overbearing bass presence. One thing I found lacking on the Legacy 3 was the bass presentation lacks definition and punchiness, moreover since I like pairing it with the Cayin N3 Pro which has a relaxing and warm sound signature in the Triode mode. On the Legacy 4, bass presented itself in a more neutral manner with tighter and faster impacts in the sub-bass range. In other words, I like how the bass guitar strings vibrate or the occasional drum rumble.
For vocals, I am somehow impressed when I read that the Legacy 4 has a slight V shaped tuning. From a variety of songs picked randomly, I felt that Legacy 4 is free of bloats in the mid to low section which usually congest the sound, giving a very muddy or sluggish sound. Perhaps the tuning switches has a play in this but more about it later. While I found Legacy 3 to present vocals in a smoother and warmer manner, the higher treble output of the Legacy 4 brings about more presence to vocals with a leaner tonal balance. And since I tend to avoid monitors with piercing treble response, I liked that the Legacy 4 treble response has a nice decay slope – free of sibilance or harshness, detailed and a nice air to the sound (one reason why I have my Empire Ears Wraith).
Moving back a step, one reason why the Legacy 3 and Clairvoyance caught my attention was the level of resolution and details presented by these monitors. Yes, we can argue that Legacy 3 and Clairvoyance are not direct comparison but I tend to use both pretty often. Hence, using them as examples here. On the Legacy 4, I found the resolution and technical presentation a big improvement from Legacy 3. A nice surprise was the overall imaging, in terms of layering, instrument separation and positioning, close to that of the Clairvoyance. Soundstage wise, the Legacy 4 would likely sit in between the Legacy 3 and Clairvoyance – coming in as not as “in your head” like the Legacy 3 but not as wide as the Clairvoyance.
The Tuning Switches
Similar to the Legacy 3, the Legacy 4 features a 2 switch tuning switches. And like the Legacy 3, playing around with the switch combinations does alter the tuning…but not much. The second switch did somehow change the typical V or U shape profile to something a little more neutral in the midrange and noticeably louder, likely from increased driver output, -something I am quite comfortable to leave it as.
I will be outright and say that I do not expect this to perform on the same level as the QDC Anole VX or Empire Ears XRA given the presence of tuning switches on the monitors. Like the Legacy 3, these are definitely a fun sounding and comfortable pair of monitors that suit a large variety of music genres and purposes. I would say the Legacy 4 would likely be the natural transition for those who like the Legacy 3 and want an increase in technical performance based on the Legacy 3. And yes, definitely worth the additional SGD 100 for me.