A couple of points, one your room is very large, and two you should narrow down which speakers you are going to go with.
The Whispers employ bass amps which does take a lot of work off the main amps so do some of their new models.
I would settle on the speakers first. I would also consider for a similar price point to the Whispers the Kef Blades with a good JL sub as another awesome package.
The Legacy's speakers have been shown with great sound with the CODA electronics.
I would recommend the Chord stuff which is unbelievable sounding and they make very powerful monoblock amps.
Write me via email for a more detailed discussion but despite their size, number of drivers and dynamic range capabilities, all Legacy speakers I've utilized or heard are extremely efficient and do not require large amplifiers. I've know people who use SET, and medium sized/priced tube as well as solid state amplification with very good results. Personally, I have utilized Edge NL 12.1s since 2006 as a matter of personal preference due to their non-colored and very natural sound coupled with vast dynamic range to give the control over the softest as well as most demanding passages. I've also heard Legacy speakers driven by Classe monoblock and stereo amps, CODA and other amp choices and would be glad to share all the good things that I've heard.
Recently, two audiophile friends of mine who have run some sophisticated and expense amplification over the years take a chance on Emotiva's latest top of the line stereo and monoblock offerings with amazing results. They were very surprised and happy with what the new Emotiva offerings brought to the table and at the same time a bit dismayed at how much value and great sound was packed into these amps at a price point that is very accessible. It shattered a number of preconceived notions to be sure. I may be listening to them soon but given they are driving MBLs and other high-end speakers with these new amps, it may be a manufacturer you want to check out to pair with your new Legacys.
Bottom-line, from personal experience, you cannot go wrong with Edge NL amps, Maker Audio (next generation of Edge), Karan, CODA (Reference), Classe CAM-600 monos and others that I've heard.
Thanks! I listed the speakers. Should have mentioned it will be a 5.2 system with at least 2 Xtreme subs also. XD/HD front, Marquis HD Center and Focus SE rear
No one in my area has or carries the Blades so that makes it difficult.
Nutreez: What area do you live in?
Thanks for the reminder....shoot me an email if you like with a phone number and we can talk further. While I've not owned Marquis or it's HD successor, I have heard them and also have owned Silver Screen II and HD over the years...
Having reviewed the Helix, Focus/Focus SE and Whisper for Dagogo.com I have some familiarity with the brand. :)
I have used the Whisper in reviewing with a large assortment of amps including but not limited to Jeff Rowland class D, VAC Phi 200, Pass XA160.5, Pathos Classic One MkIII (two units in Mono mode; currently for sale), Cambridge Audio Azur 840W, and Wells Audio Akasha and Innamorata, etc. All of these have been reviewed; if you wish to see the character of them you can read the reviews. I have done two write ups of the Whisper which you may enjoy at Dagogo.com.
I am not hard core HT, but listen to stereo about 98%+ of the time, so my comments on setup are to be weighted. I do use different amplification for the surround system; I also use the Magnepan MGMW for the Mid and Rear surrounds. So, I do not have absolute consistency with surrounds in either amp or speakers. However, I watch a movie perhaps once a month, if that. I put the bulk of my money into the two channel experience.
If HT is critical to you I would strongly consider similar brand for all amplification, as the amps do carry a sonic signature and house sound. I would put the bulk of the money on the two channel amp and quite a bit less on the surrounds. The center I would put a good amp on since the nature of the human voice changes dramatically with a good center/amp.
The advice regarding the efficiency of Legacy speakers is true. I have used all kinds of amps with the Focus, Whisper, etc. If you go with tubes you may encounter a lot of tubes throwing off a lot of heat and longer term maintenance costs. Solid state would give you less issues potentially of biasing, tube replacement, etc. I have put together many systems with a tube amp, i.e. VAC, up front with the mains and solid state with all the rest. My perspective on this may conflict with some ardent HT fans, but once the system is set up and you get accustomed to the sound it becomes "natural" to your ears. I am quite sure the surround could be vastly improved, but with budget considerations and emphasis on the mains I am content with the "mix and match" system. However, as I said, optimally you will want consistency.
Note that if you do work with different brands/genres of amps you can massage the sound of the center/surrounds with cabling to suit. So, while I suggest that the optimum would be one brand/house sound of amp, you can do wonders in matching tonality etc. with cabling. I would strongly suggest you begin with one full set of cables if possible, especially for the center speaker and mains, and work from there.
Finally, the Wavelaunch processor will allow you to integrate the Focus and Whisper with ease in a fashion much more deft than simply putting two different passive speakers together. For instance, if there is a difference in output between the two amps you can adjust the level of the Whisper via the processor to match the Focus SE. No problem. You can even tweak the filters a bit to get the various frequencies to sound the way you want. It's one of the speakers which allows pretty much total control, so one is not as dependent upon the "perfect" matching of amps as with other speakers.
If you wish to converse further, perhaps considering your other system components, feel free to contact me. :)
HI Doug! First, thank you for the lengthy and informative reply. Honored that you have replied to my post!
50% of listening will be 2 ch and 50% HT/5.1 music(bluray only).
If I recall, in one of your articles you opted to use an AB amp vs an ICE for the W-HD!?
If so how did you find the comparison?
My intentions, so far, are to Mono the XD or Bi the HD.
Stereo amp the rear F-SE's and use bi-wiring.
The M-HD Centre has me a little perplexed as what direction to actually go as, you stated, it has a lot of relevance.
Room correction: Bill will be employed,directly,to set the system up, using his Xilica system for the LRF's.
Been looking @ Triannov, Dirac, XTZ pro etc. for others.
Also looking at 5.1/2 pre/pro's/server.
Memory Player 64u modded to 5.2 w/ B ray built in.
Krell 707 w/ modded Oppo 105
New Emotiva - not yet released
No analogue planned at this time but may look at adding a UHA R2R and associated gear later for 2ch listening only. I'll probably be lambasted for this but that is what I'm planning for now.
Been looking at Coda; 15.5(new) for XD's
33.0(5) for SE's?
M-HD has me perplexed as to which is most suitable considering it can handle up to 400w, and to attempt to match it (timbre) to the XD/HD LRF's.
Definitely looking to use the same brand throughout!
That said, I welcome any recommendations!!!
As previously mentioned my room size is Mod-large (10,800 cu/ft) w/ a high sloping cieling. It has an Equi=Tech 150A (220 stepped down to 110)dedicated service and Cardas wire to Maestro outlets. Two separate grounds: 1 for Electronics and one for Amps etc. Each (floor)outlet is within 3-4 ft of the proposed speaker/sub placement and 2/20A outlets proximal (3-4/ft) to the electronics etc.
I have done this to reduce wire length (read;costs) requirements for each component.
Appreciate any additional input for sure!!!
Tom, in my use class D amps have been superb at transients and clean, but lacking somewhat in fullness and tonal richness that good Class AB amps have. I requested specifically that the Whisper I have not use internal Class D amplification so that I could use whichever amp I chose to drive the bass. I have never regretted that decision. I recommend to anyone considering the Whisper that they strongly consider an outboard amp for the bass. Bill D. prefers the convenience and ease of setup etc. of the Class D internally, especially since some customers do not want to mess with yet another amp/cables for the bass. But I wanted complete control over which amp I used for the entire speaker and I am very happy with the results. I spent enough time with the Helix and its onboard Class D amp for the bass that I felt I would prefer the flexibility of my own amp choice for the bass with the Whisper. Some individuals are not so senstive to the nuances of the lowest bass, but I always wish to have complete freedom in working with all frequencies when system building.
You're doing a lot of 5.1, so you will definitely put much more emphasis on continuity of the amps with the surrounds/center than I have. With that much surround play I would attempt to get same brand for amps for all channels.
Conducting direct comparison with my Whisper DSW between passive X-over mode and active x-over/processor mode the fully active speaker is superior. It costs a fair bit more to realize its full potential, but you can start with relatively inexpensive multi-channel amp or a couple stereo amps (if you use the internal class D; if you opt for external bass amplification like me, then you're looking at 6 channels of amplifiction) and upgrade them over time.
The HD will be a relatively plug and play thing if you don't want to mess with the processor much, and it will cost less. To push the speaker to ultimate perfomance you will need to do the active speaker top to bottom and more channels of amps. If I recall correctly, I was able to get as good or better sound with less expensive amps from the fully active mode. I would not obsess overly about Mono/Stereo as the quality of the company's amps is at least as important, and often more important than if the amp is mono/stereo.
You may wish to hold off on the room correction for all the other speakers until you run the rig for a while. You may find that you are content without it all. I have heard some correction which left me thinking it was not so impressive.
I haven't heard Doug D.'s latest Coda amps in my room, but they sounded quite nice with Legacy at shows. The Wells Audio Innamorata (and the lower cost Akasha for the price point) have sounded excellent on a variety of speakers including the Whisper.
Currently I'm using a Musical Fidelity CDT-1 Transport- I asked MF to demo it and ended up buying it - with the Eastern Electric Minimax DAC Plus (reviewed), which I have rolled discrete opamps from Burson and DEXA's NewClassD offerings (I wrote an Audio Blast article about discrete Opamp rolling). This flexibility has allowed me to take Redbook and Sonos sources and obtain very high sound quality. I can adjust any components and speakers to suit my taste. Adding in power cord and digital link selections I have a dozen ways to present digital signal to the rigs I build for two channel.
There's a hundred ways to do digital!
Hi Doug! Thanks again for the detailed input.
Since the bass section of the XD's have 2 500 ICE amps...what AB amps for the bass have you tried?
I'm going to only converse on two channel and the Whispers.
Since I already have the power supply installed near each XD/HD placement I would like to Bi them since I have incurred that expense in room/system preparation.
I know that there will be extra expense to the Whispers but I want the flexibility, as you stated, to dial them to the material and sound for 2 channel playback.
Did you run the Innamorata with another amp (AB or?) for bass?
May I also ask what speaker cables you use(d)?
Tom, glad you are finding the conversation helpful.
Over the years pretty much the listing of amps above; I tend to work with pairs of stereo amps especially if they can be bridged to Mono. I do so because some of the speakers I use are only single wire capable and others are bi-wire capable, and the Whisper is tri-wire/tri-ampable.
I used the Cambridge Audio Azur 840W a fair bit for the bass; I had two of them and bridged them to Mono, something like 800+ wpc. But they throw off a lot of heat, fyi. I'm currently looking for a new amp for the bass.
I have two Innamorata which are superb, and I thought of buying an Akasha just for the bass for the Whsiper; that's a sizable outlay primarily for one task as it would not be needed for any other installation. I am considering options for an alternative class D amp which could be stout enough to use as stereo amp for other speakers, perhaps 500wpc to 1,000 wpc. I would also consider monos.
It's been a couple years since I did some serious comparisons of Class D and it's about time again. That may sound contradictory to my statement about not wanting to be locking in with a class D amp for the bass, but I need flexibility in cables and for other rigs. Based on sound alone I would not hesitate to add the Akasha simply for bass, but I have to consider varieties of systems and other utilization.
Regarding speaker cables, the two brands I have used the longest are WireWorld and Clarity Cable. If I use WireWorld I typically will use a mix of the silver and copper cabling. I place passively networked cables in the same category as power conditioners/filters; in my experience they alter the signal in some respects which might be considered beneficial, but also damage it as much as help.
Yes! Enjoying the ongoing Doug!
Regarding new D class.
I have been investigating non ICE powered for the W-HD.
So far the Anthem M1 (1000@8 & 2000@4) seems to be getting some good ink.
Also the Pascal is also garnering favor from the DIY'ers.
Others are Ncore based and numerous. prices can be stiff on some though.
Been thinking 1-M1 and an Innamorata per W-HD might be worth a try if the impedance is matchable.
Also looking at used Krell FBP600 for the bass amp. Again, if it can match impedance.
Thanks for the Innamorata input! I have read all that is available now.
Thanks for the wire info also> What gauge would you recommend for low range and also for the mid/high?
The runs will be quite short: 3-5ft
The longest interconnect runs will be to the rear amp(s) and rear sub. That will be up to 20ft!
A little concerned about signal degradation at that distance.
Any Thoughts on this?
Pre-amp: Some of the new pre's I have been looking at offer variable input/output gain management.
he new CODA 7x has great specs for this and multi out's.
But also been considering VTL 7.5 and ARC 40th/10 for two channel??
This is too much fun!!!
Tom, whichever amps you buy, most will be well within tolerances for impedance that you can switch them from Bass duties to M/T duties. Be sure to try them out both ways; you may be very surprised by the results.
Also, do not believe the notion that with a processor you can mimick the precisely same sound as a different amp/brand, i.e. that you can put an el cheapo amp on the bass through the processor and get as good of sound as if you used a premium amp. I have conducted the tests and the quality of the amp shows itself even when a processor is used. If you like the sound quality of an amp, you likely will enjoy it used for the bass. You may get good quality with an active x-over and an inexpensive amp, but you will not get the same quality as with a finer amp.
My experience in cable has consistently been that more total gauge, i.e. 10, and copper conductors yield the best sound for the money. I find that the better sounding cables are superior across the frequency spectrum, not only for bass. Silver conductors have been tricky, potentially excellent in some cases, but overall thinner sounding.
If you are doing longer interconnect runs you will probably want to work with amps having balanced connections. I strongly recommend you use XLR/balanced interconnects for the longer runs, so your amps receiving the longer runs of interconnects will need to have XLR inputs.
More circuitry means more signal degradation. You may wish to consider a dedicated preamp for two channel listening.
Thank again my friend!
I have been considering a good dedicated 2 ch pre for sure.
Been looking at ARC 5se and ref 40 used. any recommendations appreciated.
A 5.2 ch pro for mutli-channel and switch the wiring when necessary. No problem doing this at all.
XLR's for the runs to the amps for sure. But boy does it get pricey! LOL.
Also been looking at 10 ga OFC for bass and 12-14 ga OFC for M/T.
Owe you a big piece of smoked salmon!
Tom, I'm glad you're enjoying the process of building the rig. It is terrifically gratifying when one hears the result.
You don't have to switch the wiring with the 5.2 processor; just feed the two channels of the stereo pre into the inputs of the 5.2, but make absolutely sure the main L/R inputs are calibrated for the level of the stereo preamp feeding them! It's not hard to do. One way to ensure you never have an accident is to put the volume down entirely every time you use the stereo preamp when finished. Also, check that it is down before starting up any video, surround music, etc. There is slightly more degradation of the L/R when doing video but the benefit by not having to rewire to hear stereo music is important too.
I do that very thing; whatever I have as my stereo preamp for music I feed into the main L/R of the 7.1 Outlaw processor for surround AV. Works great!
I use 10 Ga for all drivers and typically have achieved superior sound across the frequ. spectrum by doing so.
Sounds like you're getting closer to your goal.
Thanks!yes getting closer>
An out of the conversation question for you.
Have you heard the PTE Phoenix and with the statement sub by any chance.
Thinking you are at RMAF
Thanksgiving weekend here
I've used a HT 7.1 pre-proc and 2-channel pre-amp in 2 different configurations; it works best if your HT pre-proc has an analog bypass feature that you can set that skips the DSP processing in the HT Pre-Proc and allows you to enjoy the front two channels for 2-ch listening without the DSP in the middle. Check the docs of whatever proc you intend to live with and ensure you can elect to skip the DSP to make the most out of the pre-amp without swapping cables around, etc....You'll not have any of the the surround modes or bass management (to an LFE subwoofer .1 channel) but you will be able to hear 2-ch straight away and hear the pre-amp you purchased using a pure analog path.
Your 2-ch pre-amp should allow for a 'theater bypass' mode to be set on a given input such that the HT Pre-Proc volume control handles the volume for all units in parallel when you are connecting for HT operations and want what comes out of the DSP together with full 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 complete with bass management for the LFE .1 channel. With this config, the side benefit is as mentioned previously that you get the front 2 channels of your HT playback out through a pre-amp that is presumably much better than what you have in the HT pre-proc...
Questions.....send me email. Enjoy!
Thank you Zeph'! Getting closer all the time
You are very welcome...let us know how it all turns out for you!
Im going to setup mines with OTL from Atmasphere, The Internal Amplifiers will take care of the bass duties but the rest of the system is on Tubes. I do have a pair of clayton M300 and possibly try them out later on. Let us know how you get along I would be very interested on how you decide to config your system. The XD are very unique set of speakers allowing you to do what ever you wish withthem.
Thanks Vibe! Atma' has definitely been on my short list for a while.
I would appreciate your SS vs Tube comparison and evaluation.
Thanks Dragon again! Can you pls tell me what pre you are using with the Atma's?
Purity Audio Ultra Series with some caps upgrades and additional bybee installed.
Thanks Dragon!! Ging to have a look at it!
Just read Doug Shroeder's review of the modded Whisper Clarity on Dagogo site.
just goes to show that people like Doug and Bill keep improving what was already very good.
That is the understatement of the year to be certain! Fully agreed!!!