Thieaudio Voyager 14 & Legacy 9 Impressions

I've reviewed most of the Thieaudio collection from their headphone and the majority of their IEMs, but I never did get a chance to review their first two sets - the Voyager 14 and the Legacy 9. I'd like to thank Kevin (Valoncia) for sending these two IEMs over from Singapore to give me a chance to listen to these finally! Thanks!

He happened to get the very first production unit of the Voyager 14 ever and it was so new at the time, it did not even come with retail packaging! Both of these units come with a sort of carbon-fabric-looking faceplate design, although different in their unique styling. The Voyager 14 has a clear shell, while the Legacy 9 has a black shell.

The Voyager 14, as the name implies, is a 14-driver in-ear monitor featuring an all-balanced armature arrangement mixed with Knowles and Sonion drivers. This flagship product retails for $999 and is still available for order now. It also includes two tuning switches to create 4 unique sound profiles overall.

The Legacy 9 is part of the hybrid-series from Thieaudio. It sports a 10mm dynamic driver, and 8 balanced armature drivers, again, with a mix of Sonion and Knowles variants. The Legacy 9 does not have any tuning switches.

Voyager 14 Impressions

While the Voyager 14 has four tuning options, I stuck primarily with the OFF-ON configuration which presented the most balanced/neutral setup. Coincidentally, this setup measures similarly to the Empire Ears Odin, but they do not sound similar at all.

The Voyager 14, in this setting, has a bass emphasis with a slightly emphasized upper-midrange and relaxed treble. It's an overall warm and punchy signature, but is pretty pleasant to listen to.

My main gripes with it is that the overall sound feels a little compressed. Some of this can be attributed to the occasional small soundstage, but it also lacks a bit of openness and it sounds a little soft and lacking full definition.

I did, however, enjoy the bass response. For being an all-BA set, it has a very nice amount of quantity and a decent quality to it that hits with some slam and punch, while also having some resonant and decay characteristics that feel authentic. It's probably not the most defined texturing I've heard, but definitely not a bad trade-off for the weight it provides.

The mid-range on this setting is more forward than the others which are quite recessed, though allowing for a little more soundstage. The mid-range is generally smooth and I find it warmer than neutral, though some may consider the upper-midrange a little too forward for their liking, and I think this plays into the somewhat smaller and compressed sound.

General resolution of the Voyager 14 is average for this price point. I think it doesn't compete with higher tier models, and definitely falls short of the qdc Anole VX or the Unique Melody MEST and Empire Ears Odin in resolution and technical performance, but can hang with some the models closer to its price point.

For music pairings, I think the Voyager 14 can be a possible all-arounder, though I do prefer this one with more standard rock music, country, and more music that has electric guitars, kick drums, and vocals. I don't necessarily prefer this with more acoustical music, only because I prefer my classical/orchestral and jazz music with a bigger soundstage and more air.

Legacy 9 Impressions

The Legacy 9 has a much more bass emphasis than the Voyager 14, as well as smoother mid-range and upper mids. The treble is a little more exciting than the Voyager 14 and extends well. They both feature a similar dip in the low treble, reminiscent of qdc's house sound, and this can make some instruments sound a little unnatural. For the most part, it doesn't bother me a great deal.

The Legacy 9's general signature is smaller and more intimate. In many ways, I feel it sounds even more compressed in its low-end. The bass is pretty blunted and lacks a precise attack with slow transients and a bit of a smeared level of detail.

The upper-end is much better in this case. I do like that percussions, for the most part, hit with a realistic timbre and resonance, and the the transition from the lower to upper mid-range is smoother and more relaxed. It's less shouty than the Voyager 14.

Still, I think the Voyager 14 sounds like it is worth more than the Legacy 9, and that has a lot to do with its improved technical abilities. It's more resolving and has surprisingly good bass response; better than the dynamic-driver-led Legacy 9.

Like the Voyager 14, I do think the Legacy 9 does best with rock music, though it is also fun with hip hop and EDM as well. I wouldn't take either of these as my choice for acoustical music such as orchestral or jazz pieces over a number of other IEMs however. 

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