Dimensions: 19’ × 25’ Large
I installed ONE of these in the system one day on my Esoteric A-02 power amp to replace a 2 year old Elrod Statement Gold next-generation cable as a test. The cable was cooked for 6 days and then rounded out by David on his system to a full 2 weeks of burn-in. They are beyond any expectation that I could have!
I've been off the forums for quite a few days not because I had nothing to write but because I've been having so much fun listening while working and when not working and had a new set of speakers burning in 24 hours per day that have really been quite amazing and very musical from the first couple of hours.
I listened to a lot of speakers and researched many others this year. In late summer I went to Atlanta where Bill Dudleston was showing off his SOTA Reference speaker ($80K) the "VALOR" which utilizes many unique and revolutionary design concepts and drivers that are all his proprietary designs together with Wavelet, which can be used as a DAC (Apodizing), Linestage Preamp and DSP-ed full roomEQ. Furthermore, VALOR makes use of Bill's new "stereo unfold" technology which you have to hear to believe what it does for soundstaging and imaging. This was Sunday afternoon meeting of the Atlanta Audio & Video Society which is a great group if you are ever able to attend one of their events.
Also in the room was the Legacy Caliber "XD" model. As an aside, the Caliber productions models come in 2 flavors;
- Caliber: passive speaker, required a full range stereo or monoblocks to drive it. Tweeter, midrange and small woofer,....specs are amazing and the speaker is incredibly well built, not your typical 20-30lb monitor speaker...
- Caliber XD: hybrid with a woofer, midrange and tweeter and Dudleston's own ICE amplifier design, can be run fully active where the speaker is driven by its own internal amp or hybrid where the bass and mid-bass are run active and an external amp drives the midrange and tweeter. This mode utilizes Wavelet for RoomEQ and other benefits...
A note on the room...old Marriott with possibly THE worst sounding and hard to contend with meeting rooms and ballrooms you have ever heard. Power was terrible as well.
The VALOR being what they are were outstanding and with Wavelet and Stereo Unfold conquered that terribly room and filled with great audiophile-grade sound, imaging and yet were very musical.
External amplification was a surprise....$1800 Legacy Powerbloc2, a new stereo amp from Dudleston with his standalone ICE amplifier designs running a full-range 2-channel output. The amp was so damned good it caused me to reevaluate briefly all $20K and above amp designs I had ever made. Being objective however, there is a practical limit with any digital amp design where things get a bit grainy when you push them to concert hall levels but it was a long time before any flaw in that great cost-effective amp showed.
The surprise for everyone in the room including me beyond the comments the 2-channel Powerbloc2 amps elicited was when Bill switched over to the CaliberXD run fully active, no external amp using a CD player and/or computer audio streamed into the Wavelet. Bear in mind the Caliber XDs and a Wavelet weigh in at under $10K...
The Caliber XDs I believe are about 62 lbs each; picking them up you found a very formidable speaker whose weight and density was a surprise. You could break a knuckle tapping these if you were not careful.
As an aside, Caliber XDs carry on the history of fatigue-free, very musical speakers that Bill at Legacy is known for designing...
Everyone in the room was amazed at how the CaliberXDs run with internal amplification only and mid-level cables and CD player positively filled the room with impressive sound, accurate imaging and musical playback. Engaging/Disengaging Wavelet's RoomEQ on the fly for both CaliberXD and VALOR made that device's amazing effects readily apparent as to how it battled and won over the room's problems. When all was said and done, more than half of the 50+ people in attendance were making comments as to how they were astounded at what this stand-mounted speaker and Wavelet could do at a price that few other high-end vendors would ever offer.
Anyone needing a cost-effective speaker that while not inexpensive does not break the bank that is capable and delivers MUCH more than you would think should not buy anything before they hear or try the CaliberXD with Wavelet.
Long-story short, after this experience in Atlanta, I traveled to Legacy twice to hear the VALOR, a custom version of Whisper XDS which I initially favored and planned to order and the Caliber XD. Over a period of 4 solid days (2 trips) I put all these through their paces after trip #1, was excited that Whisper XDS with Wavelet and some custom mods would be my next speaker.
Trip#2 changed that as I thought about the size/stature of Whisper XDS the needs for dual large subs if I wanted full range back (I did) and how they did not fit into my original plans.
For 2-3 weeks, I communicated back and forth with Bill and posed a question as to how we could utilize Caliber XD, extend it and couple it with subs to make a modular full-range separated-cabinet speaker that would allow for monitor-only, monitor-plus-bass/sub cabinets and ability to also add a 3rd decoupled cabinet just for mid-bass and midrange specialization in the future.
His answer was 'Caliber XD Custom' for me which adds the following to Caliber XD;
- an extra woofer so 2 in place of the default 1, 1 each side-firing left and 1 right
- a large passive radiator on top
- DUAL 750w ICE amps internally
- DUAL XLR inputs
- a redesigned back plate with dual speaker binding posts to the tweeter section only
- a pair of Legacy FOUNDATION subs (to my hearing these rival REL G25 MK2s and JL Audio 212 and Gotham); 1000W of ICE amplification in each FOUNDATION
- new Wavelet algorithm sets to allow Wavelet to drive every driver set individually and treat the woofers in the Calibers as woofers or mid-woofers depending upon whether the Caliber XD "Custom" was utilized by itself or in unison with the FOUNDATIONs
- all 8 outputs on the Wavelet live to accomplish this, only one external amp needed to drive the tweeter section
- new Wavelet algorithms for 'steering' taken from Bill's wealth of experience in the pro-audio world together with Wavelet's Time and Frequency RoomEQ algorithms...
- ability to add Stereo Unfold algos to this setup based upon lessons learned from VALOR design, to be added in the future...
- the customized Calibers weigh in at about 80lbs each...
- result: 96db efficient speaker setup, 16Hz-30kHz FLAT in-room with bass on pipe organ and synth popping out well below that; I HAVE to get our REW and measure...
- Using thick sorbothane pucks for now to perch and isolate the Calibers on top of the foundations and an Adona shelf under each FOUNDATION to couple this stack to the floor and yet allow the massive passive radiator on bottom of each bass cabinet the room to do its job and breath freely...
*This was one huge experiment and there were many refinements on the overall design, driver complement, algorithms, etc...but in the end the last week has been nothing short of eye-opening. I believe that I have much more 'speaker' here than even I thought I would have at the beginning. I've been off the boards as this is one of the most fun and musical speaker setups that I've ever had, bar none and I keep finding myself getting off the computer and back in front of an around the speakers!
They have about 265 hours on them as of now; imaging, soundstaging, musical playback and realism are all up there with the best I've heard. Friends have already stopped by including one well-known power cable, interconnect and speaker cable designer who lives about an hour from here; all have been amazed at the overall result of this chance taken that resulted in one hell of a unique set of speakers.
More later and pictures below..when you consider that price of the setup retail even with the custom adds to the Caliber XDs, the Wavelet extra work and 16-layer black pearl piano-grade finish all-in is only $24K for the entire setup, it's even more amazing.