Having long been a fan of, and believer in, dipoles (Dahlquist, etc.) I found myself drooling at the opportunity to audition this design in nearby Philadelphia. Never having had the scratch to purchase Legacy's Whisper system (the only weaknesses of which are an easily remedy-able lack of bass extension, and a sorry, analog equalizer processor), I thought I might just be in business with the Empire.
Upon entering the demo room, I was temporarily diverted by the Whispers sharing the display. Lovely. Eventually, though, the real world intervened and I strolled over to the Empires. You know that sinking feeling you get sometimes? I got it. The main baffle is some sort of glossy black vinyl or plastic overlay that might look OK in a dominatrix's lair, but never in my living room. It even appeared to be bubbling and peeling in some places (keep in mind that this was a Legacy Roadshow event so one assumes this pair was at least representative of the regular product and was, more likely, a hand-picked uber-pair, carefully prepared to present the new product at its best). Inlaid in the front was, what appeared to be, a solid block of hardwood (Rosewood in this case). Normally this would be a good thing but, in this case, this solid block (actually several blocks glued together) lent an unfortunate top-heavy look to the speaker. Mounted in the middle of this block was the tweeter. Actually, the tweeter mount was mounted there. This mount appeared to be nothing more than a piece of 1/4" particle board painted gloss black. The tweeter was back mounted on this piece with, apparently, no consideration whatsoever for the diffractive, square edges it presented to the wavefront; very cobby looking. But I wanted to by a pair of Legacy's to listen to, not look at right?
The demonstration begins. Initially, I was somewhat taken by the clarity, air, or whatever; even if the bottom end was almost nonexistent. So what, I would have to buy a subwoofer if I were to get the Whispers anyway, wouldn't I? I sat through several presentations and comparisons and the more I listened the more I found that the clarity I had at first been so impressed with morphed into thinness and edginess. With no apparent output below 80Hz or so to balance the overall sound out, this eventually (actually it happened pretty soon) began to annoy me. I left very disappointed.
So for $6K+ you get edgy treble, somewhat cloudy midrange, and bass that falls somewhere between a computer speaker and Legacy's Studio (but favors the computer speaker). The Empires made up my mind for me; two months later I bought a pair of Maggies.
One thing that annoys me about review sites like this one is that everything gets either five stars or one star; nothing ever seems to rate in the middle. I wish I could buck that trend, but the Legacy Empire is not the speaker to do it with. Sorry.
I have owned a pair of Legacy Focus speakers for almost ten years now. At the time I bought them, I compared them with speakers costing up to 20k, and found in many ways they were far superior. I worked for a custom home theater business that sold Wilson Audio, Linn, M&K, and some other well respected names. The first time I listened to the new Empires, I was instantly struck with their transparency. It was one that rivaled if not surpassed that of the best electrostatic speakers. Unlike box design speakers, there is no narrow sweet spot listening area. You can stand or sit anywhere in the room and hear the incredible imaging. Because of their design, they allow you to listen to the music, not the room acoustics. These were the first speakers I have heard that did not require weeks of placement tweaking. In fact, I was told you can actually place these right into the corner of the room. As for sound? They are simply incredible. It was not until I did a side by side comparison with the Focus speaker, did I realize how good the Empires are. They do not, of course achieve the low bass performance of the Focus, but there is a clarity and transparency I have yet to hear from any speaker on the market. The only way I can think to describe their sound, is like mixing the speed and dynamic sound of a Watt Puppy, with the transparency of a electrostatic. It provides the best of both worlds and in many ways surpasses both. In my opinion, the Wilsons are too analytical, and not very musical. The Martin Logans, while open sounding, lack dynamics. I think it is fair to say that everyone wants to get the best bang for the buck, so to speak. The Empire speaker is that and more. If anyone is in the market for a incredible speaker for music or home theater, this is the one to listen to. I should note that I wanted to upgrade my system to have the single best home theater system on the market. I intend to keep my Focus speakers for music in the living room. They are part of the family!
[FONT="Verdana"][SIZE="3"]All I can say is "WOW". Sex, violence, more sex and more violence... a little instrospective character development... more sex and gobs o' violence! Nekid wimmens, nekid (and aroused) mens. Everything but the kitchen sink. Great season thus far.
Worf [/SIZE][/FONT]Read More »
Hmmmm kinda don't know what to make of this. First anything involving crime and HBO is going to suffer in comparison to the 500 pound gorilla in the room that is "The Sopranos". Simple as that, no getting around it. In that they spent $18 large on the first episode (that's 18 MILLION Dollars for ... Read More »
Anyone heard of this Australian band?
They were on our local morning show today and I caught their last song. It reminded me a little of Andrew Bird with a horn section instead of violin. I've been listening to some tunes on their website this evening and I like it.
[url]http://www.thecatempi ... Read More »