Great review @Resolve, and thanks for answering my question above regarding the comparison versus the Moondrop Blessing 2. So basically it depends on budget: they’re both great IEMs, but the Monarch is a step up from the Blessing 2 if you can afford the higher cost. From what you and @antdroid have said, it still sounds like the Clairvoyance is the one to get if you predominantly listen to rock music, so I can’t wait for your review of that.
check out @Fc-Construct shootout with some of these IEMs he did a great job!
Where do you guys purchase your impedance adapters? I see Andrew used one in the Monarch review. I’m looking for a 20 ohm one. Thanks!
Check out Dunu on AEx. I got mine there, not for the Thieaudio’s , but they do heve them.
Merry Christmas (Eve) everyone! I’m getting through my review backlog and here’s my Legacy 5 review.
The Thieaudio Legacy 5 is a $250 4 BA + 1 DD hybrid from Linsoul that aims to capture the entry mid-fi market segment after the efforts of Thieaudio’s flagship twins. Despite having the Legacy name, it shares a number of design philosophies with the Monarch and Clairvoyance over its younger sibling, the Legacy 3. This begs the question: Does the Legacy 5 follow in the footsteps of its well-regarded predecessors or is it simply riding the coattails of success?
Disclaimer: As usual, the Thieaudio Legacy 5 has been provided to me by Linsoul in exchange for this honest review. I have not been or will be compensated in any other way.
What’s in the Box?
When I said that the Legacy 5 shares a lot of design similarities to the Monarch and Clairvoyance, I wasn’t kidding. The packaging and accessories are 100% identical. Included is a hard carrying case, the Thieaudio 2-pin 2.5mm EST cable, a 3.5mm and 4.4mm adapter, a set of S, M, L foam tips, and the cherry on top is a pair of M size SpinFits.
For those unaware, that EST cable can be bought on Linsoul for $70 and boasts all the standard cable jargon that you can read at your own leisure. It has a straight 2.5mm jack and the adapters are also straight jack, meaning if you don’t own a 2.5mm input, you end up with a stupidly long plug that’s rather ugly and annoying to use. The cable itself is rather stiff, prone to tangles, a bit heavy, has cable noise, and cable memory. And for some reason, it also hurts the back of my ears with its weight and hard braid. Suffice it to say, I do not like this cable and immediately switched it out. But hey, at least its a free 2.5mm cable.
Fit and comfort on the L5 is excellent. The shell size is quite a lot smaller than the Monarch/Clairvoyance and just a little larger than the Legacy 3. Like the tribrids, the shell is made of the same plastic-type material but it has a much subtler faceplate design with dark galaxy-like swirls on it. It’s very understated and honestly a little wasted since you (and everyone else) are likely to never really notice it. Isolation is rather decent though it does share the same vent on the top of the shell like the Monarch/Clairvoyance that prevents it from feeling fully plugged.
The Legacy 5 has a relaxed sound signature that’s immediately pleasant. Its warm, smoothed out, non-fatiguing, and I can listen to it for hours on end. This tuning would be perfect for those who want something easy to listen to while working or commuting. The technical performance of the Legacy 5 complements its frequency response quite well. Though it doesn’t punch much above its weight, it feels comfortable for the sound quality and price point that the Legacy 5 aims for.
I’d consider the bass quantity on the Legacy 5 to be moderate. It has more of a midbass focus and seeps into the lower mids for a warm, glue-y sort of sound. It has some good nuance and separation to distinguish when kick and bass guitar notes overlap. However the Legacy 5’s bass quality is my biggest (and only) complaint for this IEM. It sounds soft, blunt, and thumpy. It lacks deep rumble or authoritative slam. This can make it a little muddy and low-res at times. For the otherwise wholly competent Legacy 5, its bass is clearly its weakest link.
The bass DD driver of the Legacy 5 is actually the exact same DD found in the Monarch and Clairvoyance. But when compared next to Clairvoyance and especially the Monarch, it is very apparent that this one of the sacrifices you’ll be making. Don’t get me wrong; for its price it’s not bad and I wouldn’t discount the Legacy 5 because of its bass. While I’d like to see a tighter DD on the Legacy for more critical listening, in some ways, the bass performance of the Legacy 5 in-line with the relaxed nature of the IEM.
The mids of the Legacy 5 are the star of the show for me. I really like the way they’re presented. They have just enough forward presence to keep vocals interesting but aren’t aggressively forward and command attention. The tonal balance is really quite pleasing for pretty much all instruments. It has a warmer that doesn’t sacrifice clarity. The pinna gain is moderate and prevents the Legacy 5 from sounding harsh. That said, the warmer tuning forgoes some of that aggressive bite in electric guitars. All in all, there’s nothing much to complain about here. The icing on the cake is a rather coherent crossover from the low end DD to the mids. Maybe it’s partially covered up by the less-than-stellar bass but I don’t hear a distinct transition to the BAs.
Like other warmer IEMs, the Legacy 5 does have a dip in the lower treble that avoids the energetic attack of the hats/cymbals. However, it does climb back up after that to maintain some upper harmonics and provide some much needed brilliance to balance out the overall sound. However, that is not to say it’s perfect. There’s a bit of peakiness that makes certain sounds pop out at you but as a whole, the treble of the Legacy 5 is unfatiguing for me. The Legacy 5 also does start to roll off fairly quickly once it approaches the upper treble. While it’s not dark, the lack of air does contribute to that warm sound.
The Legacy 5 is not a resolution monster and it doesn’t have the best instrument separation ability. Instruments do eventually seem to play on top of each other in busy tracks due to the lack of layering. There’s enough clarity to that it isn’t really a problem but if you’re a detail chaser this isn’t it.
Where the Legacy 5 does well is its soundstage. I don’t feel as enclosed with this compared to a lot of other budget IEMs. Obviously, as IEMs, its soundstage isn’t anything mindblowing. It isn’t crazy wide and there isn’t a lot of depth. But in combination with its tuning, the laid back nature of the sound gives enough stage to prevent it from sounding intimate. Imaging is a standard affair with that 3-blob left, center, right sound. I like the overall staging of the Legacy 5 and think that it adds just that extra layer of enjoyment compared to similarly tuned IEMs.
Should You Buy It?
Yes. At $250, the Thieaudio Legacy 5 is one of the few examples of a perfectly priced IEM. It definitely provides a much more enjoyable experience to justify the price bump over the Legacy 3 while not being so expensive that it’s a direct competitor to the Moondrop Blessing 2. Furthermore, its tuning fills a niche at that price range that not many IEMs adress. It’s a very well tuned set perfect for long listening with competent enough technicalities that doesn’t detract from its overall enjoyment.
As a testament to how much I enjoyed the comfort and tuning of the Legacy 5, it was the IEM I picked for a 4 hour flight. And its likely one of the few IEMs I’ll listen to again after this review in a more everyday setting. For those looking for a work IEM that they can listen to all day while slaving away behind a desk, the Legacy 5 should be one of your top choices.
I thought Thieaudio was going to slow down on the releases of their in-ear monitors but then they come out with the Legacy 4. This four-driver IEM comes packed with a single dynamic driver and 3 balanced armature drivers and retails at $195, placing it in-between the Legacy 3 and Legacy 5, both of which I’ve reviewed this year.
The product was sent to me by Linsoul, who are the makes of the Thieaudio brand and are found at http://www.linsoul.com.
The Legacy 4 comes with a new dynamic driver that has not been used on previous Legacy series IEMs. This new DD is perhaps a welcome change as one of my biggest negatives with the previous Legacy 3, Legacy 5, and Monarch/Clairvoyance, were mainly triggered by the lack of resolution and softness of the bass range.
In addition to this change, the packaging is all-new, again! It seems like every unit I’ve gotten has come with a new unboxing experience and this one has been my favorite yet. The L4 ships in a large nylon zipper case, which when opened, houses the IEMs, matching smaller case, and tips in their own small compartments within the larger case.
The cable included is also my favorite of the ones Thieaudio has included in any of their sets to date. This one is white colored, and is braided with a soft sheathing material that has a lightweight, but durable feel to it. It’s extremely easy to wind and unwind without tangling, and is very maneuverable. I also just like the overall simple modern look of it.
The shell design is small and petite, much like the Legacy 3 in size and shape. The faceplate art is available in only one swirl pattern that features a mix of blues, yellows, and orange within in a semi-translucent black shell. There’s a single vent on the shell, and it also features a pair of tuning switches which add or subtract mid-range to the IEM in what seems like just 2 configurations total in my measurements.
The Legacy 4 has a well-balanced signature that does stray a tad bright in the lower treble regions that I think some may find fatiguing over time, but this also provides a clean clarity to the overall sound. It surprisingly has good extension for this price class and I find it sounds like a better tuned and more technical Moondrop Kanas Pro or KXXS, and is priced just a few dollars more than those well-received IEMs.
The new dynamic driver which handles the low end seems like a large improvement over the previous dynamic driver found on all the previous Thieaudio IEMs. This new one has better microdynamics allowing for better punch and resolution, and does not fall behind the quality of the BA drivers as much in that department. It still isn’t the best dynamic driver I’ve heard in an hybrid IEM (MEST!) but its quite enjoyable for this under $200 price point.
It’s no longer blunted and smoothed out, and I don’t jokingly call it the Blon DD anymore. It’s also a marked improvement over the Moondrop KXXS and Kanas Pro low end sound. Those two are a single DD which handles the entire frequency response.
The mid-range of the Legacy 4 can be altered depending on the dip switch choice. While there are technically four different combinations of switches, in my testing and measurements, only two configurations make a difference. If you leave the RIGHT side on or off – in other words, OFF-OFF and ON-OFF are the same, and ON-ON and OFF-ON are the same. This is similar to the Legacy 3, where they could have just kept one switch and saved time and effort.
The midrange does change from a flatter and thicker sound to a more recessed sound that changes the overall sound from a mild U-shape to a mild V-shape signature overall. I found that I enjoyed the Right ON (flatter mid-range) more for most things, though with rock music and some more pop genres, the RIGHT OFF signature worked well as well. I would also prefer this for movie watching.
The treble range on this unit can get a little hot. It is just a tad brighter than my preferred sound signature, but only slightly. For those who are familiar with the Moondrop Blessing 2, it is pretty similar in that type of level of treble. That said, I do find this one behave a little more so than the Blessing 2 in terms of overall brightness, and it does not sound quite as lean, mostly due to the fact that it has a bigger bass shelf.
That said, when I listen to music with a lot of stringed twangs, those instruments (primarily guitars) can come across quite forward and tizzying (is that a word?). Some piano notes came across this way as well, with strikes coming in a tad sharp at times. I wouldn’t say I found these fatiguing, but I am one is quite accustomed to listening to slightly brighter than neutral gear, and the peaks in the 5KHz region is common amongst some of the gear I own and listen to regularly. For those who are sensitive to this area, it may be something to be wary about.
Treble extension is quite decent for this price range, and specifically I am going back to talking about its contemporaries here – the Moondrop dual, and even the Etymotic series, which are similar in tuning and capability. Both the Moondrop and Etymotic series sound just a bit flat and missing full treble extension. The Moondrop twins are more guilty of this however. With the Legacy 4, it does extend treble, but maybe not with the same amount of air and shimmer as some other gear I’ve heard at higher price points. That said, I am perfectly pleased with this amount for price range and I am quite content with the overall sound in general.
I’ve spent some time talking about it with regards to its competition, but how does it stack up within its own family?
I gave the Legacy 3 are mostly supportive and recommendation earlier this year and even bought the universal and custom versions. It’s a great deal for the price, however my biggest complaints with it were its lack of technical capabilities. This had a lot to do with dynamic driver sounding very mushy, but it also had a very forward and 2D sound to it. This means, I never really felt the depth was there, and it lacked good imaging and instrument separation.
The Legacy 4’s improved driver configuration seems to help out a lot here. While the sound signature is similar, the L4 does not have as much issues with mushy bass resolution, and it has a major upgrade to the soundstage and imaging. The resolution is overall much improved on this set and I would highly recommend someone who is thinking what to get between the two, that its well worth the extra $70 to upgrade to the Legacy 4. The L3 is a little more laid-back and pleasant sounding though, and should be less fatiguing due to its tamer treble response and it does not have that sharper 5KHz sound to it, but it does lack a little bit of the airy treble that I like about the L4.
When we talk about the next one up the price list, it gets a little more interesting. The Legacy 5 is priced at $50 more than the Legacy 4 and adds an extra BA driver to the count. It still uses the older DD though and that is obvious as my major complaint with the Legacy 5 was, again, the mushy, blunted and lower quality bass region. The L5 is also a more warm and lush sounding IEM, with a significantly tamer and thicker sounding mid-range and treble. It’s full-bodied in everyway, while the Legacy 4 sounds quite lean compared to it, and has an airier overall sound.
The L5 isn’t as bad in the major technical departements as the L3, but I’d say the L4 is on-par and if not surpasses the L5 in every category – soundstage, imaging, resolution, texturing and layering. I may give the L5 a nod for coherency, because I do feel the sharper BA sound in the L4 makes it sound a little disjointed from the low end DD.
Finally, many have asked how this stacks up to the Monarch and Clairvoyance – the twins that I believe define the capabilities of Thieaudio. Both of these have well-thought-out tuning and have solid technical capabilities. I think these two still stand top of the Thieaudio brand that I have tried. I have not tried the Voyager 14 and Legacy 9 yet, so keep that in mind.
While the Monarch and Clairvoyance use that old dynamic driver that I did not like, there are a set of BA drivers that are also used down-low to help keep resolution at a good level on these two. Both the Monarch and Clairvoyance have improved resolution and don’t have as a fatiguing sound, though the Monarch is a bit shouty in the 1K range, which may affect some.
The Legacy 4 has just a slightly fuller sound in the low-end, but it does have a brighter treble region, and some may not like that. Again, there’s an emphasis in 5KHz range, so it’ll provide a lot of presence to guitars and strings for the music I listen to.
The Legacy 4 is yet another solid addition to the Thieaudio lineup that is continuing to grow and most of the ones I’ve tried are well-tuned and fit solidly within their price points, except perhaps the Voyager 3. I have got to say that I am impressed with this whole thing, and they continue to up their game in both sound capability, and also the entire package, which is full of accessories and a unique and meaningful unboxing and package of tools to use.
This one definitely competes in its price point and will get a recommendation from me. It’s enjoyable all-around, but it does have a little brighter than neutral treble, so just be mindful of that when considering products with it.
How are the nozzles, are they long or more stubby?
Not long but not stubby either. I think they are the perfect size for my ears.
But probably more long than stubby.
I just noticed on Linsoul that they’re now offering a CIEM version of the Legacy 4.
If I were to get my first IEM, this would be it.
Here’s my long overdue review of the Thieaudio Monarch and Clairvoyance! Have a happy new year!
2020 has been a long year. Ignoring the craziness of the real world, the IEM world has had a number of big releases such as the MoonDrop Starfield, the refresh of Campfire Audio’s flagship Andromeda and Solaris, the entrance of the heavyweight Empire Ears Odin, and to end the year, crinacle’s MoonDrop Dusk re-tune of the hugely popular Blessing 2.
With so many exciting IEMs released in the past year, I figured what better way to end the year other than discussing what’s possibly the most lauded ChiFi release of the year: the Thieaudio Monarch and Clairvoyance. Today, I’ll be taking a look at these critically acclaimed IEMs and add yet another perspective for those wondering what the hype around these two IEMs are.
Disclaimer: I was lent the Thieaudio Monarch and Clairvoyance as part of Linsoul’s review tour program. Below are my honest thoughts on these IEMs. I am not compensated by Linsoul in any other way.
What’s in the Box?
For those unaware, the Thieaudio Monarch and Clairvoyance are also referred to as the “tribrids” as they contain a dynamic driver, balanced armatures, and electrostatic drivers. Specifically, the Monarch has a 1 DD + 6 BA + 2 EST configuration while the Clairvoyance removes a single BA from that setup. At $700 for the Clairvoyance and $730 for the Monarch, you could say that extra BA costs $30. The DD used in these IEMs is the same one found in the Legacy 5. The BAs and EST forgo the typical Bellsing drivers found in ChiFi in favor of Knowles and Sonion. Do note that despite being called electrostatic (EST) drivers, they are not true electrostatic drivers as you’d expect from headphone nomenclature. That is to say, they aren’t true estats like the infamous Stax headphones or the Shure KSE 1200/1500 lineup. They do not require a dedicated amp with a transformer for power. Speaking of power, they aren’t too hungry and can be driven rather easily from my Apple dongle. The Monarch actually requires less power than the Clairvoyance does despite having one more BA driver.
Looks wise, the Monarch and Clairvoyance are pretty much identical except for some shiny orange speckles on the Monarch’s faceplate. The pearl-like finish and iridescent sheen is rather eye-catching; the promo pics on Linsoul’s website seriously does NOT do a good job showcasing how good it looks. The packaging of the twins are identical with the exception of the labeling sticker on the box. It comes in the standard Thieaudio green cardboard box with a set of S, M, L foam tips, M sized SpinFits, a hard carrying case, and the Thieaudio EST 2.5 mm cable and its corresponding set of 3.5 mm and 4.4 mm adapters. In fact, the packaging is identical to the Legacy 5 and you can read my not-so-positive rant on the EST cable there.
Fit and comfort on both IEMs were about standard for me, though they aren’t the most comfortable in the sense that they disappear into my ear. It has a nozzle size of 5 mm which I’d say is a bit above average. While my unit does not have a nozzle lip, Thieaudio has since added it for the newer ones in production. The shell of the tribrids are definitely on the large size and for some reason, I find the Monarch to be slightly more comfortable than the Clairvoyance despite them having practically the same shell. Maybe it’s just my ears.
To be completely honest, I was not immediately blown away by these IEMs. They’re both tuned extremely well but I wasn’t overly impressed with their technical performance at first listen. Resolution wasn’t immediately leaps and bounds better than what I was used to. Soundstage was within the realm of what you’d expect IEMs to be (i.e. eeehh). Admittedly, I had very high expectations of these IEMs from the hype that surrounded their release. To be honest, it was the sound of diminishing returns.
Despite saying all of that, over the next few hours and days of listening, the Monarch and Clairvoyance convinced me that they’re worthy of their price tag. The Monarch’s tuning is a lot leaner than the Clairvoyance thanks to a very controlled subbass boost and treble forwardness. In my view, the Monarch is an IEM that demands attention. It’s not an IEM that you can forget about in the background. On the other hand, the Clairvoyance takes a more conservative approach. It has a lightly warm midrange and a relaxed but still present treble. The Clairvoyance has an easier-to-listen to presentation that fits perfectly into a work from home environment. Between the two, I greatly prefer the Monarch.
The Monarch has a heavy subbass focus that hits deep. It both slams and rumbles with a great sense of impact and unique texture. When the right notes hit, it can be very satisfying to listen to. They accomplish this through dedicating the DD and 4 BAs solely to the bass. However, this does come at a cost: I find that the bass performance isn’t wholly consistent. Certain notes, especially on the kick drum, have an awesomely deep rumble and weight to them. Other notes that don’t fully leverage the Monarch’s bass setup are less impressive and more akin to the Clairvoyance. Furthermore, in my initial listening, I could actually hear the blending of the BA and the DD though I haven’t been able to notice it again after the first couple of days.
The Clairvoyance’s bass is a fairly standard DD affair. It doesn’t have that sense of awe like the Monarch does but still provides a respectable performance. While it does rumble when needed, it has much more of a warm, full-bodied midbass focus compared to the Monarch. Where the Monarch flattens out at about the 125 Hz mark, the Clairvoyance is sustained until around 200 Hz, right before the lower mids. This makes the Clairvoyance the bassier of the two to my ears. The Monarch feels like “neutral with a subbass boost” while the Clairvoyance is overall “balanced”. There’s a good sense of nuance and resolution in the bass, a far cry from its blunt and low-res sounding siblings. Despite sharing the same DD, the difference in bass quality from the Legacy 5 is mindblowing. The choice of BAs working in tandem with the DD makes a serious difference. Transients are very good on the Monarch and decent on the Clairvoyance. For those who want a low end that “fills the room”, you’d want the Clairvoyance over the Monarch. The sterility of the Monarch may sound just a little thin for some people. Personally, I really enjoy the Monarch’s bass presentation for its uniqueness and often deeply satisfying subbass.
The mids of the tribrids are excellent with what I’d consider about an ideal pinna peak placement right around 2.5-3 kHz. While they both have forward leaning vocals, there is a significant difference in tonality. Compared to the Monarch, the lower mids of the Clairvoyance are ever so slightly elevated. Combined with the increased bass presence in the midbass, the Clairvoyance clearly has a lusher tone over the Monarch.
Vocals have a good sense of space on both IEMs, being placed cleanly forward and taking center stage. Both male and female vocals perform just as well on both. Neither are harsh nor sibilant. Vocals on the Monarch have a slightly aggressive front to them while the Clairvoyance are a touch relaxed. This is likely due to the minor mid elevation in the 1-2.5 kHz range. Likewise, electric guitars have a gritter and more engaging sound on the Monarch. Acoustic instruments have a homely tone on the Clairvoyance while they sound sharper and more defined on the Monarch. Overall, I wouldn’t say the mids of the tribrids are especially unique or have some romantic quality to them. They’re just really good with an instantly agreeable tonal balance, though with a different flavor on each. I prefer the midrange of the Clairvoyance.
The treble of the Clairvoyance is present but restrained. It has good extension and provides plenty of clarity without being fatiguing or distracting. Hats and cymbals are tamed but have a very natural voicing to them. I don’t notice any outstanding peaks or oddities in the treble. Where most other IEMs fail the treble test for me, the Clairvoyance passes it comfortably without overly dampening the sound and killing transient energy.
On the flip side, the Monarch’s treble straddles the line of almost being fatiguing without ever crossing it. It’s rather omnipresent and in-your-face for me, like I’m constantly being reminded that I’m listening to the Monarch. Like the Clairvoyance, the Monarch’s treble has a natural tone, but is distinctly more crisp with more brilliance in the shimmer of hats and cymbals. There’s a great sense of clarity in each note that rings out. In addition, the upper harmonics of brass instruments have just that extra layer of energy to it, making it a treat whenever they appear. The treble of the Monarch falls neatly in line with my preference for treble, though a bit of a longer decay would be nice. Needless to say, I greatly enjoy it.
The soundstage of both IEMs aren’t anything amazing. They still have that centered, in-your-head feeling. For the most part, the horizontal soundstage is constrained to between the ears but occasionally they do surprise me with notes that stretch those limits. There is limited height to the soundstage though at times there is good depth, especially on the Monarch. Imaging is quite decent. There’s plenty of nuance across the horizontal stage though depth is limited to two planes. These are not IEMs you buy for a vast sense of stage. Notes do seem to fight for the spotlight and layering is limited. The Monarch does a much, much better job here than the Clairvoyance, likely due to the leaner midbass tuning. While far from bad, it’s clear that the staging is a relative area of weakness compared to the prowess of the other parts of these IEMs.
While I initially wasn’t super impressed with the resolution, I gotta say, after listening to these IEMs for a while and then going back to my more budget range gear, the step up in resolution is definitely noticeable. Rather than a big step forward like I experienced in the Fearless Dawn, it’s a lot of tiny little improvements that I notice every now and then that comes seamlessly together. Like the layering, the Monarch has better resolution. While part of it has to do with its more sterile tuning and forward treble, I suspect that its improved transient response really adds a subtle bit of extra clarity. Switching to the Thieaudio Legacy 5, it’s like a whole other layer is missing. This is the threshold level of resolution that I expect top tier IEMs to have.
Should You Buy It?
Yes. While I think both IEMs are excellent, having heard both side-by-side, I’d buy the Monarch hands down every time. Personally, when I think about reaching HiFi or endgame, it’s more about just tuning or technical performance. I want something unique, something that fills a gap that others leave behind. For me, that is the Monarch. I love its forward treble response and its bass hits like few others do. It’s not a perfect IEM but for the price and what it strives for, I think the Monarch is an extremely compelling one-of-a-kind option with nothing yet on the market to challenge it. On the other hand, the Clairvoyance’s safer, less aggressive tuning is a double edged sword. It’s a great IEM but it doesn’t reach for more than that. While the $700 price tag places it firmly below some of its competitors in the Viento and Sony IER-M9, the used market does open a lot of doors to IEMs near the kilobuck range.
If you’ve made it this far into the review (or just skipped to the end) and want a simple way of thinking about these two IEMs, here’s my perspective on them. Get the Monarch if you really focus and listen to music when you do. If you’re someone who really wants to immerse yourself in the sound while commuting or lounging. Get the Clairvoyance if you want a very solid and safe set to listen to. If you’re someone who listens to music while working on something else and just want some good sound to keep you company. The Monarch is better for more energetic genres like EDM or pop. The Clairvoyance does better with more acoustic music.
Hopefully this review helps clarify things for those still on the fence for the Thieaudio Monarch or Clairvoyance. As I say goodbye to these IEMs and start a new year, I hope 2021 continues to bring IEMs that redefine the limits of sound quality and price performance.
Really enjoyable read @Fc-Construct. An excellent comparison review. Happy New Year.
So the “electrostatic” drivers – are they really electrets? Or isn’t that known?
I think it’s some sort of electrets. I’m sure some people know and I might be able to do a bit of digging but I don’t want to make any definitive statements since I lack the technical knowledge to back it up.
How’s the Legacy 4 with foam tips?
Here’s the measurements of the Thieaudio Monarch vs the Clairvoyance I have here. Keep in mind this uses the GRAS RA0402 coupler and not the 0045 equivalent commonly seen. The RA0402 reduces the coupler resonance the 0045 has at around 8khz but it also goes a bit too far, so just keep in mind that these shouldn’t be compared to those done on other rigs.
Interesting to note here as well is that this Monarch has a more gradual slope for the upper bass - notably better than the one Crin measured. I don’t know exactly what’s responsible for this, we both uses the same source (and I’ve tested this on multiple low impedance sources with the same result). Also note that this Clairvoyance has more treble presence above 10khz. So maybe there’s some minor unit variation going on here.
EDIT - here’s the comparison video:
Yeah yours look more like Crin’s. I’ll be sending these to Precog to see if it’s a coupler/source thing or if there is indeed some unit variation. Also, I should note that for my measurements I was using the 3.5mm adapter onto the 2.5mm cable. I wonder if that has something to do with it. It’s not the impedance adapter (although I have that too). So it could be that the included adapter has some influence? But then again I’m using it on both, so it would only be having an influence on the Monarch if that’s the case.