Legacy Aeris with Wavelet Processor

Equipment report
Legacy Audio Aeris,
Legacy Audio Wavelet
Legacy Aeris with Wavelet Processor

I should also note that the Wavelet does not attempt to get into the hi-res equivalent of the horsepower race at 384kHz and 32 bits. Legacy notes that “higher resolution files such as PCM and DSD can be readily played back through the Wavelet using software such as JRiver.”

In practice, however, I don’t find a limit of 192kHz/24-bits to be real-world limitation to sound quality. The room correction and other DSP processing in the Wavelet are very advanced. It uses an Analog Devices processor with an internal processing sampling rate of 96kHz and bit depth of 56 bits—a bit-rate that Legacy states is “56 bits of depth in a domain more than one trillion times finer in resolution than that of a standard CD.”

When it comes to actual recordings, I have not yet heard any reason to even go as high as 192kHz. Some of my colleagues disagree, but I have so far found rates above 96kHz/24 bits to be a waste of money. I do buy the 96kHz/24-bit version of the music I download or stream for safety’s sake, but most of the time, a good 16-bit/44.1kHz version of the same mastering of a recordings will sound exactly the same. One has to be very careful in paying what usually is nearly twice as much for the 96kHz/24-bit when there is no way to hear whether there is any difference, particularly with a modern DAC with really good filtering. Oddly enough, the better your DAC, the less likely you are to hear any difference.

As for streaming DSD, most DSD recordings have already gone through some form of PCM mastering before they are issued in DSD form. Moreover, I have yet to hear any comparison test that indicates high-rate DSD recording sound better than 96kHz/24-bit recordings. I do keep my SACD player, but largely because I love classical music, and the SACD versions on disc are usually a bit more detailed and have more musical upper octaves than the CD version on the same disc. However, to the limited extent that I have heard direct comparisons of DSD and PCM files that some of my friends have made of the same performance on high resolution systems, I have heard no more superiority from DSD over 88kHz–96kHz/24-bit than I have heard from 192kHz/24-bit over 88kHz–96kHz/24-bit.

As for the rest of the Wavelet features, it does comes with a small basic remote volume control, but what counts is the Wavelet app you can download for both setting up and operating the system. It provides exact volume and balance control, dynamic expansion and equalization settings, switchable room correction, and all the sophisticated control options I touch upon later. Just set up the wavelet for the form of remote control, leave it on continuously, and forget about the small remote entirely.

The Sound
I should stress from the outset that the Legacy Aeris with the Wavelet is a very good speaker even without the room correction switched on. To repeat some key points from my first review, the treble and upper midrange are realistic without any softening or, contrarily, any touches of hardness. The treble from the dual Air-Motion Transformer (Heil) folded ribbon tweeter is extended and provides all the air I could want. Equally important, its transition to the mid frequencies of the “titanium-encrusted” 8" midrange is virtually inaudible. Many of the designs I’ve heard that mix driver technologies have at least minor sonic anomalies in the transition areas between them and you can sometimes hear the difference.

Even without the room correction switched on, the Aeris will reproduce the midrange of my best piano and violin recordings with the kind of accuracy that is sometime missing in even the most expensive competition. It does equally well with flute and clarinet and soprano voice, reproducing the difficult passages in voice in ways that still shows the strain a given singer was under but that add nothing in terms of hardness or coloration. It does an unusually good job reproducing the most difficult instruments in the sonic repertoire, like the harpsichord, and it is as natural with cymbals as my recordings allow.

As for the bass, the Aeris will reproduce most of the bass detail that is actually on even the most demanding bass spectaculars. Saint-Saëns’ Third, the deepest organ music, Kodo drums, Telarc bass spectaculars, bass guitar, synthesizer, take your pick.

Switching on the Bohmer room correction makes improvements that are a matter of nuance, not a revolution in sound, and it can take a few minutes to realize that less room resonance is a good thing and excessive, lingering, peaky bass is not. But, there is no question that the new room correction option makes a critical difference.

The Wavelet’s room correction is subject to well-chosen limits and will not produce perfectly flat response at the cost of excessive correction. It can still compensate to a great degree, however, for really bad speaker placement in areas where there is too little bass or too much. It provides a capability that will make a vital improvement if you have a truly bad room, or you have to use a setup that is less than optimal because of the décor or other reasons. It does enough to get rid of the worst peaks—peaks which not only give the sound something of “one note bass character” but also excite room resonances and mask the midrange, the highs, and the details of the rest of the bass.

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