Under the Radar

Review: A-Audio Legacy Headphones


The A-Audio Legacy headphones cost $299 direct and feature Active Noise Cancellation and a bass boost mode. There's a lot of padding and a faux-skin carrying case. They're blingy and they've received some rapturous reviews elsewhere online.


Count me out on this rapture. I understand why some might like them and I've enjoyed listening to them at their flat audio setting. But I can think of a lot of sub-$200 headphones that sound as good or better than the Legacy's flat setting and you're not paying $300 to listen to them flat anyway.

What's good about them?

They're comfortable. You can wear them for hours without your head feeling crushed afterwards. I definitely need fewer breaks from these than from a lot of headphones I like to listen to more. If you care most about comfort, these are a good choice.

The control cable is well-designed and you can easily control volume, answer calls and pause music by feel of the controls. That seems like a feature that should be easy to design, but almost all headphones companies screw that up, so points to A-Audio.

The carry case is easy to use and there's a velcro carrying pouch for the cables (there's a second standard cable and a 1/4" adapter included).


What's less good is the noise cancellation, a function that's really hard to get right. They do an okay job of filtering out the background noise on a flight or in a crowd, but they also really thin out the music. The bass boost with noise cancellation is better but the sound doesn't remotely compare to these headphones with the switch turned off.

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The last component here is the design. If you like what you see in the pictures here, then maybe the Legacy headphones are for you. The design suggests an industrial metal build that's actually plastic and it's right in line with the fake reptile finish on the case. From 5 feet away, everything looks like it might cost $800 or more, but the actual materials are more in line with the actual price point. There's even an A-Audio warranty card that included in the case that looks sort of like a black American Express card.

So, back to those other reviews: there are people out there who enjoy these headphones a lot. I've got to think they're attracted to the comfort and the styling. From a strictly sonic perspective, there are a lot of less expensive options that sound better. The Legacy is one of those lifestyle purchases. You're paying for style more than sound.

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