Legacy Audio Focus SE: Build Quality - More than Just Drivers Part 2
Working our way up the speaker you next encounter the mids. And it's here that I was really pleased with these speakers. The twinned 7" drivers utilize Rohacell to reinforce the silver graphite cones. Rohacell shows up as a super stiff and lightweight material in sports cars, aviation and wind turbines. High end hockey sticks are using this material. It's really hitting the market hard and for good reason: light and stiff is the name of the game when it comes to loudspeaker cones. Of course stiffness and weight are graded on a scale, and so the game is always afoot, with plastics, kevlar, aluminum and beryllium making a showing in various manufacturers' products. In either case, Legacy has chosen this route and it appears to be working well for the design.
The Legacy seems to have two of everything and they don't stop at the tweeter. In fact, this is where the real magic occurs. The dual Air Motion Tweeters (or transducers) are a technology invented back in 1972 but used sparingly and mostly by high-end speaker companies due to how carefully they must be implemented. Legacy used a 4" AMT tweeter to handle frequencies from 2.8 kHz to 8 kHz and a 1" AMT super tweeter to carry the air (everything above 8kHz). If you aren't familiar with AMT, it's basically a folded diaphragm that moves back and forth almost like an accordion. It's super quick, however, and it's low mass but wide surface area enables it to accurately reproduce frequencies far beyond the lower range of more conventional tweeters. There are only a handful of companies working with AMT drivers and it takes a lot of design and know-how to pull it off well. For example, Legacy folded a full 16 square inches of Kapton into the 4" long x 1" wide AMT tweeter chamber!
Which brings me full circle back to the Legacy Focus SE (Silver Edition) speakers themselves. At around $9,650/pair they really need to be heard to be understood. You're not going to see measurements on these speakers and learn anything significant that you couldn't already presume. These speakers are not designed to some bland spec—they're voiced to the ears of chief designer, Bill Dudleston and they take the already well-regarded Focus speakers and customize them like a West Coast Chopper...except without all the glitz and cheese, and for a lot less money. When you talk about high end speakers like the Focus SE's, you're talking about something that is designed specifically to fill a need or to satisfy an itch for a product at a particular price point that can convey a sound that only the designer realized was lacking. Those of you who will be fortunate enough to listen to a pair may never know what was missing, but you'll most certainly be showered with the sonic benefits of the resulting solution nonetheless.
And the whole package is wrapped in a stunning enclosure that is part geometric marvel, part monolithic beauty. The towers really are imposing. After all, they house every one of those drivers on the front baffle. Our review sample came in a beautiful Rosewood finish whose baffle cuts inward from the bottom with an extruded trapezoidal pattern that belies its thickness (about 1" on the face). It's a nice way to break up what is still a rather large cabinet and give it some style. The top is pitched backwards ever so slightly so that invited guests won't be apt to set their drinks on it (seriously, though, if your guests put drinks on any of your speakers you really need some new friends). The grills also custom designed, though for the price I can't for the life of me figure out why they didn't utilize magnets or something a bit more fancy than breakable plastic pins. Everything else in the package is just stunningly beautiful.
Standard Finishes (included in $9,650 price):
Standard Natural Cherry
Standard Black Oak
Premium Finishes (add $800/pair)
Exotic Finishes (add $1,250/pair)
Exotic Birdseye Maple
Exotic Olive Ash Burl
On the back you have a ginormous pair of bi-wirable, bi-ampable binding posts that can handle bare wire, pins or banana connectors, but spade lugs will have to be oversized (5/16") in order to work. Legacy makes some very nice cables that go well aesthetically with these speakers but they aren't inexpensive. Better than that, though, Legacy's user manual gives consumers a basic lessen in cable physics. It’s a good read, and I loved the frankness of it. Next to the binding posts you'll find two switches. These are trim toggles for decreasing either the Treble (10kHz shelf) by -2dB or the Bass (60Hz) by -2dB. one advantage of the Bass toggle is that is also raises the impedance response of the speaker slightly in the event you a powering it with a less powerful amplifier or receiver.
Biwiring the Focus SE speakers with Kimber Kable 8VS
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Recent Forum Posts:
Sonic Guild, post: 1175682, member: 81934
Are they on the warm side or just neutral? I can't stand bright speakers, any thoughts?
I heard them at my local store which is a Legacy dealer, and really liked them.
I certainly wouldn't label them as reserved in the treble, but to my ears they're not overly bright or etched sounding, though I can still imagine them sounding a bit bright in a reflective room.
With some Legacy speakers in the past I've been aware of a slight discontinuity in the treble due to the high crossover point to the super tweeter, but with this latest SE model it was difficult to fault the treble at all.
Of course if anyone else is able to offer a comparison besides Clint, feel free to chime in.
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Bderringer, post: 1088846, member: 74612
Do these still have plastic speaker grille pegs?
Sadly, yes. Unquestionably the lowest quality aspect of these loudspeakers. The pegs are necessary to support the weight of the fairly elaborate wood and fabric grills, but metal pegs sliding into rubber sockets might have been nicer than the plastic pegs and sockets. I have one socket that sometimes comes out with the peg. One of these days, I'll put some glue on it so that it stays put.
bjski, post: 963089, member: 64396
Anyone know if Legacy is going to update the previous version of the Focus SE to the new tweeter's?
I'm joining this thread three years late, but Legacy updated the previous planar ribbon tweeters in my original issue FOCUS SE to the new AirMotion tweeters. Cost of the upgrade is about $2k but well worth it in my opinion.
Same loudspeakers, but obviously different systems and rooms since I had the upgrade done as part of a move out to the west coast. If you have not done this yet, definitely give Doug Brown or your Legacy Audio dealer a call.