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Legacy VALOR: “A Heroic Speaker” Compared to Systems Costing $100K More

Legacy VALOR: “A Heroic Speaker” Compared to Systems Costing $100K More

Review Date: May 2019

Publication: Dagogo
Reviewer: Doug Schroeder
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Related Product(s): VALOR

"A euphoric experience. The more time I spend with the Valor, the less I want to set up other speaker systems."

“Just what constitutes a heroic speaker, and how does such a speaker arise? It might be most accurate to see the name Valor as an expression of the principles of Legacy Audio. Bill Dudleston, owner and the designer of the Valor shared, “It’s about remaining undaunted in a sincere quest for restoring naturalness. As a pioneering company, we don’t wait for what we know to be correct to become accepted generally by mainstream audio.”

“Notice the word selection, “undaunted…quest…pioneering,” descriptors of a company that is not satisfied with status quo and will take extreme measures to move toward realization of its ideals.”

"Bill Dudleston is highly trained as an acoustician and electronics designer, has devoted inordinate time and personal resources at Legacy Audio to development of the Valor and its accompanying Stereo Unfold technology, and the result is a heroic speaker that goes above and beyond expectations of audiophiles.”

“Bill’s bravery, yes, fearlessness in conceptually ripping apart the speaker and reanimating it has resulted in breakthroughs on the highest level.”

“Valor has the jet fuel octane rating that in speakers translates to them being launching pads for the signal.” 

“Legacy has jammed into the cabinet thousands of Watts. What for? Immediacy, startling start-ups, over the top dynamics, a sense of the performers being right in my space!”

“Imagine the seemingly limitless reservoir of power resulting in a gargantuan, utterly stress-free sound, that results from the Valor’s bass and subwoofer being internally powered by a ridiculously perfect 2,750 Watts per channel of class D amplification in a speaker with 105 dB sensitivity.”

"I do not recall hearing so finely accomplished a concentric driver with pinpoint imaging in such a large multi-driver speaker as the Valor. Wait; the biggest of the Avant Guard horn speakers I recall doing the same. Whereas you need a mansion and about $100K additional to get that result, the Valor lets you have it in a normal sized home and for much less.”

“The Valor adds a game changing horn-like waveguide that shatters the sky of the treble ceiling and opens it up with superior information retrieval and extension, not to mention dynamics.”

“It’s one thing to make a speaker with all forward firing drivers, but entirely another to make that speaker reshape the acoustic space behind the speaker to blend and enhance the primary launch.”

On the Wavelet DAC/Preamp/Crossover/Correction unit:

“With some upper echelon passive speakers you can tweak their drivers by means of attenuation. So what; the Valor can do that all day long using the Bohmer software within the Wavelet.

“One of the special aspects of the Wavelet is its extreme flexibility, offering a full suite of adjustments and inputs to accommodate nearly any mix of analogue or digital source and amplification, as well as a wide range of amplifiers.”

“This is an intuitive, extensive remote that offers enough control to the user without overwhelming the novice with background functions."

"It strikes me as the perfect tool to allow the owner precise setup without having to know technical aspects of the speaker’s performance. It is user-friendly and calibrated finely enough to finesse the performance of the speaker in real time.”

“Even a system recalibration is not a daunting experience when a new source or amp is introduced to the system, as the steps are clearly outlined in the sequential windows of the remote. I found the steps, operation and outcome of use flawless.”

“The Wavelet and the software remote are the powerful command center of the system, and an intoxicatingly enjoyable tool that when combined with music interface software like ROON makes the owner feel nearly omnipotent as an audiophile.”

Comparison with the Legacy V:

“Rather than merely revising the V, the Valor is a complete reconfiguration, and introduction of a new processing software and hardware collectively called Stereo Unfold Technology. The performance of the Valor is completely superior to the V.”

“Part of Valor’s superiority lies in a remake of the speaker in the fundamental aspects of performance”

“Cymbal strikes as heard through the V have the requisite impact, resonance, shimmer and decay. However, the Valor renders them with more of it all, and with a distinct sense that the cymbal has thickness, weight, and more extensive propagation.”

On Room & Placement Flexibility:

 

“You don’t need a huge room to clearly hear the difference. My listening room is smallish for Valor, at 13’ x 23’ x 7.5’. Far from the walls seeming to restrict the speaker’s operation, with the Stereo Unfold the means to push out the walls virtually makes not only the head wall disappear, but also the side walls. Persons with a moderately sized room, but larger sized wallet need not fear Valor would suffocate in their room.”

“Legacy Audio speakers are known for their wall-friendly placement, allowing for positioning much closer to the perimeters than commonplace.”

“Valor has the capacity to make the walls disappear as well. This allows the recording space to assert itself upon the ears, giving a very strong illusion of sitting in the recording venue.”

"Finally, and this is no minor point, placement in your room is no longer an issue.

“Bill has consistently sought to bring to market speakers that while large in physical size, play exceedingly well in small rooms. The Whisper especially, and now the Valor, are terrifically gratifying and rather than sounding inhibited by the room, make other fine transducers sound inhibited in my room. The Bohmer correction moderates the expected modes that would normally plague a smaller room.”

“What is the result of combining the attributes of center image relocation, enormous scale, and both extreme coherence and dynamics? The result is a speaker system that can handle music scores with characteristics more closely modeling live performances, or shall I  say reconstructing them? … as if disassembling the performance on site, transporting it to your room, and reassembling it there, fitting it precisely into your room’s dimensions”.

Listening Notes:

“Queue up a show tune track like “20,000 Feet Above” in Lorne Balfe’s movie soundtrack of 12 Strong and you are in for a treat with Valor.  When the crescendos come they seem limitless, with power that seems to be falling from the heavens.”

 


“What if I want to hear a bit less of Paula Cole’s lead on “The Ladder” and more of the harmonizing voices? Valor can do that.

Christopher Cross, Dan Fogelberg, The Little River Band, and a myriad of artists with decades old recordings have that “distant” lead, lacking the “oomph” I recall when I heard them as a young man listening through a portable radio. Valor can pull those voices in closer, increasing the vibrancy of the song and solos”.

“The ambient array drivers of the Valor firing off the primary axis explode the soundstage, opening it up significantly.”
“Even without the Stereo Unfold operating, the Valor’s performance exceeds all other high-end speakers I have used in my room.”

“I enjoy very large scale, impressively dynamic, highly nuanced and refined sound, which are abundant in Legacy designs. Scaled up experiences signal to the brain a sense of luxury, excitement, living large.”

“The Valor can do that [assess the actual height of the players and instruments], sketching at what height the trio of trumpets are being held, where in the air the drum kit cymbals are located, and the fact that the bass line is without physicality because it is synthesized by the guy seated at the keyboard.”

“It is as though I can re-engineer the concert to my tastes with the use of two slider controls!”

“The surgical precision allowed with the CONTOUR menu and the PUNCH setting allow me to set the speaker just right to accommodate all such voices, and not just at soft listening levels, but approaching live levels.”

On Stereo Unfold Technology (SUT):

“I never had cause to consider how much the center image is impacted by its intensity relative to the rest of the soundstage until I was able to experiment with the Stereo Unfold drivers. The center image is not changed at all, but everything surrounding it is! Essentially, the listener can position himself anywhere in the hall he wants! This influences how immersed one wishes to be, or how much of an overview one wishes to gain from a more distant perspective. I know of no other high fidelity speaker system offering this option. The Legacy Audio’s application of the Stereo Unfold Technology is the only one I know that attempts to preserve the center image unmolested.”

   

“Sins of mixing the lead (solo) relative to the band (orchestra) are mitigated with the Stereo Unfold. This is an advantage impossible to confer with a conventional speaker system regardless of the pedigree of the components. Whether using a $2K or $500K source, pre/amp, and speakers, most systems without Stereo Unfold will likely suffer “center image fixation”. The Valor allows for “center image relocation”, as just described.”

“When you begin to realize the power of SUT, it’s a feature you simply do not wish to be without. It becomes an addictive, necessary element of satisfaction in listening”

“Therein lies the beauty and majesty of SUT. It is a continuously variable soundstage manipulation setting that allows precisely the amount of soundstage presence around the center (phantom) image as the user wishes! This is unprecedented in the field of HiFi audiophile speakers.”

“My reader-friend, on the one hand I apologize if my enthusiasm for the Valor system has nudged you to divest of your funds...

On the other hand, I do not apologize for guiding you to one of the best speaker systems on the planet. Should you be brave enough to obtain Valor, I am certain you will be among the most gleeful of hobbyists!”

-Doug Schroeder, Dagogo

Full review, here.

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