BackstageAn Engineer's Perspective

CD 2 Guide

Welcome to the Legacy Audio Music Sampler & Test CD Volume II Test Track Guide.
The following text expands upon the text accompanying the CD. We have provided these test tracks to assist you in setting up your system.

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Legacy Audio Dual Air Motion Tweeter (AMT): Continuing the Pursuit for Perfection

Learn about the advantages of the new Legacy Audio Dual Air Motion Tweeter System in this discussion with Legacy founder Bill Dudleston.

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Behind the Design- Legacy Audio Speakers

Learn about the making of Legacy Audio speakers in this one-on-one interview with founder and president Bill Dudleston on Audioholics.

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Whisper XD…Electrostatics “An Open Mind to Open Sound”

The goal with Whisper XD is to provide all the positive attributes of the best electrostatic dipoles without any of the drawbacks.

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Driver Technology

Legacy Audio works with driver manufacturers to develop high performing drivers for each of our speakers.

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Focus SE- Behind the Design with Bill Dudleston

Consider this:  At 10kHz the wavelength is a bit more than one inch long, therefore, a 1” driver is adequate.  At 1kHz the wavelength is approximately a foot long, so pairs of 7” drivers can do justice.  But at 100 Hz the wavelength is more than 10 feet long… So where is the 10ft driver?  Some people look at Focus SE and think it is redundant in its piston area - not at all the case.  The benefit of the added piston area is quite audible to anyone with reasonable hearing. Focus SE maintains a quite linear directivity pattern, though not a constant directivity pattern as the Whisper XD

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How to Catch a Wave

More than a decade ago, as Legacy began a tour of road shows debuting new audio and home theater products, we would have to set up in different venues each week.  Rooms varied from ballrooms to hotel conference rooms and suites, and acoustics varied considerably. The real challenge was to generate a sweet spot that would serve more than a dozen listeners at a time.

Typically, we would set up the Legacy Whispers spread quite wide with a strong toe-in, then position the Focus speakers to the inside of them in the same plane. This allowed listeners to comparatively experience the systems without relocating themselves or the speakers.

While we could dictate the seating positions and speaker locations, we certainly could not dictate the distribution (position, frequency, or amplitude) of standing waves that would develop in a given room*. Whisper with its narrower and more controlled low frequency radiation generated and propagated a more useful pattern over the length of the room and offered an extra degree of room independence.  It also benefited from the Whisper analog processor which could be set for listener proximity. So helpful was this control, that within a year the STEP One (Stereo Environment Processor) was born to assist the Focus system. This unit was factory adjusted for the typically floor to ceiling axial resonance (71 Hz) for those with 8 ft. ceiling heights.

In the decade that has passed**, Legacy has continued to pioneer the methods of treating boundaries and reflections in the listening room (the reader may elect to read further about what I refer to as the Three Rs of listening room acoustics; REINFORCEMENT, RESONANCE, and REVERBERATION***.)

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What to Look For in a Loudspeaker

Obviously we would like a speaker system to cover the broadest possible frequency range, have minimal response deviations, sound clean at any reasonable listening level and not be a slave to room placement. But how do we get there from here? We can start by examining some basic principles of loudspeaker design.

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Stereo Effect

I recall a very interesting conversation with Dr. Belle Julesz, Research Director of Psychoacoustics at Bell Laboratories for 35 years. This remarkable man came to understand more about the human hearing mechanism and the way the brain localizes sounds than anyone on this planet.

Somehow, we got into a lengthy discussion about how a barn owl rotates its head to triangulate the location of mice in the dark. We then related this to human hearing and localization of sources of sound. It seems that we, like the barn owl, tend to turn our heads a bit when we hear an interesting sound. Our brain wants to “view” things at a different angle to try to assign positional coordinates to the sound.  Sometimes this rotation of our heads is obvious, most of the time we don’t even notice. Yet, these subtle rotations allow us to “lock-on” the apparent source of a sound.

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Remastering with Legacy Products

Which pro do the record labels trust to remaster some of the greatest recordings of all time? Steve Hoffman of course. Steve chose the Legacy Whisper system as his reference at DCC Compact Classics.  “Whether it’s the velvety croon of Nat “King” Cole, for the screaming guitar of Eddie Van Halen, Whisper reveals what I call The Breath of Life; the very essence of these recordings.”

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