When we think of Legacy Audio, the words that come to mind are ‘heavy, massive, and my-room-is-not-going-to-be-big-enough’. That’s the kind of speakers they make, and we’re not just talking about their floorstanding speakers because even their bookshelves seem to invoke the same adjectives. Nevertheless, it came as no surprise to us when Legacy’s distributor called us up and said that the new ‘Aeris’ was in his listening room and there’s no way he’s going to send them to our studio. That made perfect sense, so we packed our testing gear and headed Legacy's way.
OUT OF THE BOX
Even through the Aeris towers were set up amongst several other towers, they were definitely the largest and the most majestic looking pair of the bunch. As always, their hardwood cabinet stretching well beyond 5 feet, was the first aesthetic aspect that caught our eye. Inside were the even more intimidating array of drivers that stretch across the entire height of the front baffle. We were told that this pair doesn’t come with a grille so what we were looking at is the way it’s sold.
As you move to the side panels, you’ll realise that Legacy has gone in for something a little different than the rest of their tower line-up. The side panels seem to be divided into two primary triangles. The topmost one seems to be the most interesting because it’s in fact a hole in the cabinet that allows you to see the internal crossovers. On the back panel, there’s even a switch to turn on a blue light that illuminates the crossovers like it’s a miniscule city of circuits. The same goes for the top panel, which is as slanting as a cabinet can ever get. The holes are covered with completely transparent black netting. The bottom two bass drivers are entirely sealed and there’s a reason for all these bold design choices. Needless to say, the Aeris offers a whole lot of new stuff when it comes to aesthetics and you have to be prepared to embrace such things if you want to enjoy having this pair in your living room.
The best place to start describing a tower as packed with features as this would be the cabinet itself. It uses a 2.25” thick baffle and 2” side walls; all made from real wood that brings each of these speakers to a staggering 77 kg. Each of these speakers is hand-made (like all of Legacy’s speakers) so you can see the work that’s been put into the faux leather laminated baffle with its copper finish. The side and back panels are Sapele Pommele veneer while the base is carbon fibre. Of course, the reason for the open baffle for the mid and tweeter drivers was to keep them baffle-free and isolated from the lower-end drivers which have their own separate chamber. It also looks real cool when you turn on the LED crossover illumination.
The drivers are always a subject of interest with Legacy speakers. Here, their Chief Designer Bill Dudleston, has employed the Dual Air Motion Tweeter for the very first time. It works in tandem with a titanium encrusted 8” mid-range that employs an enormous motor structure. The tweeter is a 4” folded ribbon tweeter along with a 1” AMT ribbon super-tweeter which Bill said that gave him the opportunity to integrate it with the smoothest, high efficiency 8” mid-range built to date. He claims its range to be of seven octaves with a sensitivity of 98dB.
As for the bass, that’s all rendered via a 10” mid-bass unit and dual 12” subwoofers. Now, these are in fact active woofers and come with a 1000W ICE power amplification unit and a 24-bit DSP room correction unit that’s included in the price. Basically, all your audio outputs from your amplifier go through the DSP and are then sent from there to each of the two speakers. The DSP that we were using for the Aeris is the XP-4080 by Xilica and is a 4 ins/8outs, fully programmable, digital audio system processor. It’s got inputs ranging from Ethernet, USB to RS232 connectivity. It can do anything from loudspeaker management to time/phase crossover alignment, room equalisation and acoustic correction.
In this case, the crossovers for the bass, the mid-bass and the rest of the frequency range are sent to the towers from the Xilica on three lines each. Rest of the frequency range is crossed-over for the tweeter, super-tweeter and the mid-range, within the speaker (under the light of the blue LED). This is all too much to take in at once, so it would be best if we just heard them out and drew our conclusions on what everything does simultaneously.