I owned a pair and they are great - midrange blows away many if not all speakers at any price. Go to audioreview.com for more detailed opinions. I sold them like I once said - just because.
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The bass has a very different presentation than what most people are used to. This is typically the dividing line as to whether or not people love them or hate them. Obviously, a speaker of this size will require a good sized room and a reasonable amount of distance at the seated listening position. At least Legacy let's you "buy and try". Only problem is that you are responsible for return freight if you don't like them. Then again, a few hundred dollars might be a bargain to find out if they are suitable for your application as compared to spending $10K+ with another company only to find out that you don't really like their speaker and can't return it. Sean
The Legacy Whispers are a rare breed - a dynamic dipole. To the best of my knowledge, the only other dynamic dipoles out there are the Audio Artistry line and the Gradient Revolutions. I've never heard the Whispers, but I'm fond of the Audio Artistry speakers, and I've chosen to be a dealer for Gradient. I've also designed and built my own dynamic dipoles, and own and sell full-range electrostatic dipoles.
I've never heard the Whispers, though I've heard a few other Legacy products. So I'm not qualified to comment on the Whispers, but I can offer a few comments about dynamic dipoles that might be useful.
The strength of a dipole bass system is its superb pitch definition. The bass notes decay more quickly and naturally. There are no distracting cabinet resonances, and the dipole's figure-8 radiation pattern puts significantly less bass energy into the room's resonant modes (5 dB less to be precise), so there is less room-induced blurring and coloration. In fact, the smoothest in-room response Stereophile magazine ever measured was from a dynamic dipole system, the Gradient Revolution, in 1997. Using 1/3 octave pink noise, the Revolutions measured plus or minus 1.3 dB from 32 Hz to 10 kHz - in a real room!
The drawback of dipole systems are limited low bass extension and dynamic range. A dipole system has to move from four to maybe sixteen times as much air as a conventional system (depending on baffle size and desired low frequency cut-off). This means large drivers, and lots of 'em, are needed for decent bass. The tandem driver arrangement of the Whispers is an ingenious way to pack an awful lot of cone area into a manageable size.
In my experience, a really good box system has better bottom-end impact than does a really good dipole system, whereas the dipole will have better pitch definition. To me, being able to effortlessly follow every nuance of the bass player or drummer's work is worth losing a little chest-thump. As is being able to tell the viola from the double-bass. Assuming the Whispers are well executed (and I'm sure they are), they should give you the kind of articulation in the bass that you're used to in the midrange. But more important (to me at least) is the things they won't do - namely, ruin the illusion with cabinet resonances, midbass thickness, and room-induced overhang and blurring of the notes.
I would be quite surprised if the Whispers had the bottom-end impact of the Watt/Puppies. But I think the Whispers will outperform the Wilsons in bass clarity and articulation. I couldn't speculate on the midrange and treble without hearing the Whispers, but Lgjg is quite experienced and his opinions are not just the ravings of an enthusiastic owner (or, in this case, former owner).
By the way, Ljgj, you know one of my Revolution customers. He's the gentleman who did the Quad 989/Martin Logan Odyssey transaction with you. He and I both enjoy your posts.
I also owned a pair of Watt/Puppy 3/2's at the same time I had the Whispers and it was no contest in any area - the Whispers hands down could blow away the Watt/Puppy 3/2 and I am saying also that the Watt/Puppy setup was very good also. I stumbled on the Whispers when a dealer I had bought a pair of Witts from wouldn't upgrade them to the 5's after just one month without a significant loss (half) . Legacy gave me what I paid for the Witts in a trade for the Whispers - so I gave then a shot. The Whisper needs some room but sounds great at all volume levels. I would have no problem owning another pair one day. Duke - thanks for the comments. I know my trade friend was quite pleased with the Innersound amp he bought from you to run the Quads. I see he is now in a new zone - I know how that goes.
The Whispers sound totally different than the Wilson's. Midrange is massive. I had some difficulty getting the bass to match the midrange. You would think that 4 15's per a side would be overkill. The bass quality is very good from the open air woofers and you can do some fine tuning with the EQ box that is supplied. Ensure your CD player has no more than 2 volts of output when using the EQ or you could get some noise. The Whispers bass is fast but lacked the slam that the Focus have. I ended up getting their powered sub to assist with extension. I actually sold my Whispers because they were just too big. Went to something smaller liked the Wilson WattPuppies.
The Whisper doesn't image as wide, deep and pin point as the Watt/Puppy 6, but does sounds faster and fuller. It definitely needs a fast sub. In many ways it is one cone speaker that can be compared, but is inferior, to electrostatics in speed. They are large, and imposing, and still require a sub. Beautiful furniture cabinet finish though. They are easy to set up than most speakers, but I'm not sure why. The VMPS RM-40 sound better than the Whisper to me in every way, but are more difficult to set up. And bonus, they are slightly smaller, cost a third as much, and actually have deeper base. Watt/Puppy Whisper killers they seem to be.
Tweekerman, you've got your slamming all wrong on this one. If you are going to slam the Whipsers, you better start Slamming the full range Martin Logan CLS, and why not the twice as expensive top of the line Soundlabs for that matter. How about the similarly priced Magnepan 20.1's. All of these speakers do not have the ultra heft in the lower registers either (in fact NONE of them have the bass power of the Whisper. One of the reasons that I purchased the Whipsers is that they play dynamic music and rock BETTER than any of these other world class speakers).
I am VERY familiar with the Whisper as I've owned a pair for 5 years. Audiokinesis' review and hypothosis were DEAD ON on how these sound. The Whisper is the ONLY speaker in ther world of it's size that was designed to recreate the exact inverse of a cardoid microphone response. This allows the Whisper to be set up in ways that make other speakers sound like crap. They are much more forgiving of boundry placements than other speakers. The Whisper also has an excellent integration of all of it's drivers, where you don't need to be 10+ feet away from them to get the sound to integrate (try that with a big Dulavy or Pipedream).
Imaging is also top rate with the Whispers. Are there a couple of reference speakers that image better? Absolutely, but the Whispers still fall into the world class league and image great.
Every speaker has it positives and weaknesses. The Whisper is one of a few select super speakers that has lots of positives and very few weaknesses. Until the VMPS RM-40 was developed, the Whisper was my all time favorite speaker to do more things right that suited MY TASTES under the $15k mark. Now the bar has been reset with the latest VMPS offering. Would I take it over the Whispers, no. The Whipser is so easy to set up and get sounding good, and sounds much more like a Magnepan or Soundlab in the midrange. It's just that the price of the VMPS is soooo compelling, and it definately rocks. For those who don't have deep pockets, this is a best buy speaker that everyone should hear.
I found the Legacy Whisper lacking the refinement for a speaker in this price range. It was not focused and lacked the ability to make the music sound natural. I find them to be "over-done". More went into the quantity aspect than the quality. These speakers to me are bass mid and treble, never sounding seamless and as one.