Floorstanding loudspeakers

When I reviewed Legacy Audio’s Aeris 3 years ago I had to surrender to the degree of punch, transparency and focus they delivered. It was the kind of unprecedented sonic revelation that leaves a listener with an open mouth and jaw dropped. Whisper XDS is different – the jaw dropping effect is gone as it was replaced by naturalness and sophistication, yet it managed to kept every tiny bit of what made the Aeris so outstanding.

Function and form

Ease of use

Though the “cabinets” of the Whisper XDS are 1.6m tall, they successfully disappear in the room, as the speaker is of open design. Means that there are 2 parallel baffles that are spaced 10cm apart and that host all the drivers, without any real cabinets. According to Legacy Audio the baffles are digitally synchronized to maintain an ideal directivity pattern.

There are 11 (!) drivers in each 4-way speaker. Bass extends down to 20Hz and is handled by two tandems of big 38cm woofers with pulp/carbon cones that sit in the baffle, plus one 30cm ‘subwoofer’ unit that has the privilege of having its own cabinet. Midbass passes through an array of four cast frame midrange drivers with silver-graphite cones, and the real midrange is uniquely handled by 4" Dual Air Motion Tweeter System. Another 1" AMT tweeter adds the highs up to ‘supertweeting’ 30,000Hz levels.

Similarly to the Aeris the Whisper XDSs are powered by built-in 500W ICEPower amplifiers and their performance parameters are controlled by Xilica’s 24-bit Wavelaunch XD-4080 processor that allows adjustment of channel separation, low frequency contour and proximity. Which also means that you will need extra power cables with them. If you prefer the delicacy of tubed highs then you can marry the hard hitting bass with any user’s choice of amplification for mids and highs. The Whispers are very sensitive (95dB) and rated 4 ohms so you can use even SET amps with them.

With the Whisper XDS (like with other Legacy Audio’s speakers) the design is a type of like it or hate it. But who cares – these speakers are quite cheap and can easily challenge anything on the planet.

Bass management


The electric bass (Michael Ruff, Dock of The Bay) is perhaps a bit less contoured than the same bass auditioned through the excellent Estelon X DIamond, yet one has to consider that the Estelons are sold at double the price. But wait - the kick drum has incredible punch through the Whispers as if the speakers wanted to demonstrate what the real live energy of the instrument is. This is a real "standing next to a speaker in a music club" experience.

The Whisper XDSs are big speakers and they are not supposed to be listened to at low volumes. It is possible but do not be surprised if the coherent sound field disintegrates into individual sounds coming from individual cones and ribbons, as I heard with Kiss (Do You Love Me). Turn the volume up, listen to Metallica´s Master of Puppets, and the Whisper XDSs will explain you where the real enjoyment of music comes from.

Clarity & delicacy


Unlike the Aeris the Whisper XDS speakers are less forward in treble. The Air Motion ribbon tweeter is identical but it is mounted few inches lower and thus the highs are less pronounced, more velvety if you like. This suits well to some recordings, however it also robs Rabaud´s triangles of a bit of ringiness in his Marouf suite.

Listening to Michael Ruff I can only confirm that the sweet spot of the Whisper XDS is much wider than with the Legacy Audio Aeris which was very directional and thus very discriminating for more than one listener at time.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

The piano (Diana Krall, Devil May Care) was a bit different from other speakers I have heard. The sound is comfortable and a tad softer. It is not unlike the piano I am used to hear at home. When I sit in the sofa and my daughter is playing I have no chance to hear the audiophile type of detail that we crave for in highend speakers. The piano at home (and the piano through the Whisper XDS) is farther from being audiophile and closer to being real. On top of the highend status the Whisper XDSs add intense sensation that the interpret is in the room with you, which is a very absorbing experience.

Like with piano, the voice of Dee Dee Bridgewater in Live at Yoshi was fully dimensional and physical. I had no issue with the Whisper´s tonality which was close to good planar speakers, only with much weightier and punchy bottom end.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

Legacy Audio’s Bill Dudleston explains that “Signals from the two baffles are combined acoustically with time compensation to steer the low frequency wave-launch forward, while creating a progressively reduced acoustic output to the sides until reaching a null at 90 degree off axis. This eliminates boundary interactions from sidewalls, ceiling and floor. The gradient acoustic pressure reaching the listener at each ear contains far less room noise, allowing the brain to lock in on the natural ambience in the recording.”

The Whisper XDS is not your conventional speaker - rather it is a system that blends successfully different technologies to the magical effect of dissolving you in the music.

Price as reviewed:790 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

SK: Platan Audio, Hlohovec / Bratislava, tel. +421 905 409 802

Associated components

  • Sources: JRiver Media Center 22, Simaudio Moon 750D D/A converter and CD transport
  • Amplifiers: Simaudio Moon Evolution 740P and 870A
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Stealth Audio Reverie and Metacarbon
  • Power conditioning: Synergistic Research Atmasphere, Stealth Audio and Shunyata Research Hydra



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