Review: Symphonic Line Legato Speaker
After almost a year of auditioning a plethora of speakers, I have finally settled on the ideal speakers for me - the Legatos. Over that period of time I have auditioned, Revel F30, Audio Physic line, JM Lab, Dynaudio, ProAc, Aerial Acoustics, Thiel, Martin Logan, Magnepan, Vienna Acoustics, and a few others. While a few from this list grabbed my attention, I was unwilling to take the plunge until the Legatos.
Let me begin by expressing my musical tastes - I mainly listen to classical music and I have close to 2500 CD's in my library. The two most important things to me in a pair of speakers are transparency and neutrality. I am also a sucker for soundstage - I want to feel the layering of the instruments of the orchestra, good image specificity. Some people may like a warm or euphonic sound, but I have to admit I'd rather put up with some bad recordings than have the same sound on all. The Legatos with their Scanspeak 8545 drivers and Revelator tweeters can be brutally honest, but they are true and that is what I like. Listening to string quartets and piano trios, and other form of chamber music is simply a joy.
I have the Legatos in the pearl white finish, which are absolutely stunning. I don’t think any words can do justice to how beautiful they look. Very elegant indeed. I found these speakers tonally quite accurate with perhaps just a tinge of midbass warmth, with the Rega, but not the Cary. Overall, there is a rightness about the tonality. These speakers are fast with great attack and quick transient reflexes. The cadences on Stravinsky’s Firebird finale were reproduced with aplomb – the bass drums in the finale only proves the bass slam and extension. I was surprised how well these reproduced the bottom end. On William Ackerman’s “Sound of Wind Driven Rain”, the passages with the bass lines were articulated very well – tight and defined. I won’t say the Legato has earth-shattering bass, but it was certainly very articulate and fast.
The soundstage is superb - both wide and deep, and also 3-dimensional. These speakers simply disappear. One of my test discs is Patricia Barber’s Café Blue and the track “Too Rich For My Blood”, which has a good bass solo. I’ve heard this piece, god knows how many times, and on the Legatos I heard details that other speakers did not pick up, except maybe the Martin Logan Odyssey’s. Yet, there is a very realistic sense of air and space around the instruments. Barber’s voice was distinct and clear and thrust forward over her piano, the bass and the percussion. The piano sounded very natural and full-bodied. Vienna Acoustics Mahlers were perhaps more 3-dimensional, but I found the bass a little overpowering and boomy (they are also close to 10K). Comparatively, I thought the Beethoven’s were more neutral than the Mahler’s. The ProAc’s on the other hand were image kings, but couldn’t hold it together on big orchestral pieces. William Ackerman had mentioned to me that in his recording studio he had glass all around, but there was a sweet spot in the room, which is where he generally positioned himself for the recordings. Playing that disc, I could certainly feel that sense of presence around him and the guitar. I could detect no leanness or harshness in the upper registers. Even when the volume was turned up loud, the speakers held their own and remained coherent.
The Revel’s bass seemed a bit more extended perhaps and it had some nice qualities as well, but I couldn’t come to terms with its more forward presentation. The Legato in contrast was much more transparent with better imaging. The Wilson Sophia also has a fantastic range and great tonal neutrality, but they are also more than my budget will allow.
The Legatos are just damn fine to listen to - they are one of the most non-fatiguing speakers I have ever heard. These speakers work very well in a small room (I live in a condo and my living room measures 12x15x10), but I have heard them in a much larger room and they have very good sound dispersion. As for cables, using the DH Labs cables, I get more detail, but the soundstage shrinks as compared to the Groneberg. The Nordost Blue Heaven speaker wires are in a different league, much more refined than the previous two.
I don’t mean to imply that these are the greatest speakers I have ever heard; it is simply that of all the speakers I had heard, I found these very captivating and gave me most of what I was looking for in a total package and at a price I can afford. I have now had them in my system for over three months and it is definitely a huge improvement from the old KEF's I was using.
Odyssey Stratos amplifier (150x2 8ohms)
Aragon 8008BB amp
Rega Planet 2000 CD
Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp
Coincident CST-PC.5 power cord
Groneberg Quattro Reference power cord and interconnects
Nordost Blue Heaven balanced interconnects
Groneberg Quattro Reference speaker cables
Nordost Blue Heaven speaker cables
DH Labs T-14 speaker cables
Schroers & Schroers audio racks
Vienna Acoustics Beethoven
JM Lab Electra 926
Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SE
Audio Physic Tempo
Martin Logan Aries
Martin Logan Ascent
Aerial Acoustics 7B