“…a highly resolving, high power subwoofer…” Xtreme XD Subwoofer Review
Review Date: November 2012
Reviewer: Doug Schroeder
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Related Product(s): Xtreme XD
Overkill or nothing
If you’re going to do bass, do bass!...When looking for a sub, I had no interest in the myriad of little pumpers with a single 8” or 10” driver in a box about two inches wider and ten pounds heavier than the driver. No, it was going to be overkill or nothing. The XTREME XD’s 15” driver with a 15” passive radiator tipping the scale at 115 pounds would do just fine thank you. Better yet, two of them would make for perfect overkill. If I’m putting together a statement speaker system I do not want merely high performance, I want overkill because that is the only way it will have a chance at impressing me. Knowing what the Legacy Audio Helix with its 15” powered sub and accompanying 15” downward firing radiator could do, I was quite certain similar LF performance would be attained by the XTREME XD. I was not disappointed.
One of the overkill features of the XTREME XD is the “Dynamic Braking System” which keeps the sub’s driver in check. As explained by Bill, “The XTREME XD employs a second voice-coil which utilizes shorted back EMF into an optimized circuit… back EMF generated by the driver reactance can peak as high as 50 volts, thus bucking the desired current input to the woofer. Legacy discovered in 1989 that this reactive voltage can actually be harnessed to greatly improve transient behavior, making the cone position correlate better to the input signal. The driver exhibits much less overshoot, resulting in a quicker decay with reduced ringing.” Without such a quick stop system a sub would trounce the delicate musings of the King II electrostatic like a bully stomping a flower garden!
Big mistake, big omission
With the insertion of the XTREME XD subs into my rig, I realized that I have been making a big mistake for several years by cutting out subwoofers from my system. The insidious creep of frequency extension compromise happens so subtly! One hands back a few Hz at a time until it becomes acceptable to hear a rig with depth of only 30, or maybe even 40Hz… The moment I listened to the XTREME XDs supporting the King Tower, I knew I had escaped one of the most persistent mistakes in audiophilia, the “Quantity vs. Quality” false dichotomy. Historically in audio I have been an “I want it all,” kind of guy. I want both frequency extension and quality. I want radical resolution and zero listening fatigue. I want massive soundstage and pinpoint imaging. I want a sub which is profoundly powerful and as delicate as a midrange driver. The last year or two I had slipped on my demand for frequency extension, but no longer. Hard core is back! 20Hz-and-up no longer cuts it, not for a top flight audio system.
Rajaton, a Finnish a cappella ensemble which sings a wide variety of musical styles (the word rajaton means “boundless”), is captivating to hear since it strikes the ear like a “micro-choir” and there is far more interplay than a quartet, though there are only two more singers. Weighty bass with rich tonality is what I was treated to in “Butterfly” from Boundless, and “Under Pressure” from Rajaton Sings Queen.
I have heard low end in my room from the likes of the Chapman Audio T-77, Raven Studio Ebb, Wharfdale Opus 2-3 towers with matching SW380 Subwoofers, Tannoy Glenair 15” Dual-concentric, Wilson Benesch Curve, and Von Schweikert VR-4 SR MkII. None of them render bass vocals, acoustic bass, or percussion with fecundity approaching the Legacy XTREME XD.
The XTREME XD is meritorious in its own right, a superb choice for a highly resolving, high power subwoofer in either a fine two channel system or an HT experience...If you have a hankering for big-boy bass done up right, give Legacy a call to arrange to hear the XTREME XD at a local demonstration site. In addition, if you are considering a cost-no-object speaker system, hold on a bit longer until the proper description of the Whisper/XTREME XD combination is published. It will be worth the wait.
The XTREME XD comes in similar finishes to the upper end speaker line, including Natural Cherry, Rosewood, and Black Pearl, the finish of the review units. No lightweight, a thousand-Watt Icepower Class D amp powers the active driver, which according to the Owners Manual is in a “6th Order/Back EMF Cancelling Circuit.” This is a steep slope to cut off the high frequencies, allowing the XTREME XD to dovetail with a wide variety of floor standing and bookshelf speakers.
Controls on the oval faceplate sporting an illuminated company logo include an AUTO/OFF audio signal switch, to which the power is controlled by a separate switch in the rear that stops or starts signal flow to the sub. In the Off position, the internal preamplifier stays active, but the amplifier shuts down. If the unit has not received a bass signal after thirty minutes, it will mute. The logo stays illuminated as long as the rear power switch is in the On position.
System Type: Subwoofer mass loaded, pneumatically coupled
Low Frequency Alignment: 6th Order/Back EMF canceling circuit
Internal Amplification: 1000 Watt, ICEpower®
Freq. Resp. Hz: 16- 100
Input Imped.: 10K
Phase adjust.: Cont. +/-180
Blend EQ: +/- 12 dB @45Hz
Max. SPL: 120dB @1m
Low Pass Filter Slope: 18 dB per octave
Dimensions (Inches): 28 x 18 x 18
Weight: 115 lbs.
Shipping Dimensions (Inches): 25 x 24 x 35
Shipping Weight: 125 lbs. each