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Wisdom Audio Series LS4 and LS3 Speakers First Look

Wisdom Audio Series LS4 and LS3 Speakers

Wisdom Audio Series LS4 and LS3 Speakers


  • Product Name: Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3 Speakers
  • Manufacturer: Wisdom Audio
  • Review Date: November 25, 2010 06:10
  • MSRP: $$30,000+ each
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Executive Overview

Wisdom Audio introduces their state-of-the-art modular line source loudspeaker systems, the Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3. Designed by a team directed by David Graebener of Wisdom Audio, these incredible reference level products feature extremely high efficiency, extended dynamic range and premium sound quality. Their performance and world-class architectural industrial design by Ashcraft Design of Los Angeles make them ideally suited for today's high-performance music rooms, upscale home theaters and professional post-production screening rooms.

"Through customer feedback, we identified an opportunity to address both the ultra high-end audio market and installations for large theaters where high sensitivity and maximum SPL are critical. We applied the cumulative planar magnetic transducer design experience of our team to create the Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3, resulting in a totally fresh concept, the most advanced speaker we ever made and, we believe, the best performing domestic speaker system available. They completely shatter all preconceptions about speaker performance and placement, while offering the uncompromising customer that prefers to see the speaker in the room a truly unique solution. These products truly amaze."

- Mark Glazier, Wisdom Audio President

Featuring Wisdom's proprietary wideband planar magnetic line source technologies, the Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3 are comprised of newly designed individual modules, 20" in height, each incorporating two planar magnetic midrange drivers flanking a planar magnetic high frequency driver in a vertical line source configuration. The LS4 combination features four modules, with a total vertical line source height of 80", ideal for placement on either side of a deluxe home theater's large front projection screen, or as the left and right channels in a stereo configuration.

The LS3 includes three modules with a combined vertical line source height of 60", making it an ideal center channel speaker. For a full behind-the-screen configuration, where the theater is to include a perforated, acoustically transparent front projection screen, designers and installers might opt for three LS3 configurations. As the LS4 and LS3 feature identical acoustical characteristics, in whatever configuration that might be employed listeners will enjoy perfectly matched sound across the entire soundstage.

Unlike conventional speaker systems that typically incorporate various combinations of cone and dome drive units, the Wisdom Series LS3 and LS4 models feature their newest planar magnetic line source drivers. A two-way system, each module features dual high efficiency and ultra-high output upper bass/lower midrange planar magnetic drivers that handle frequencies from 80 Hz to 750 Hz. From there, the high efficiency and ultra-high output upper midrange/tweeter planar magnetic driver covers the rest of the entire audible range, with flat response extending to beyond 20 kHz.

Compared to conventional loudspeakers, which often cross over from the midrange driver to the treble driver in the 3 kHz range (where the human ear has the widest dynamic range and therefore the greatest sensitivity to acoustical aberrations), Wisdom Audio's wideband planar magnetic technologies provide the ability for the treble driver to cover a much wider range than is possible with a conventional tweeter, eliminating the audible degradation associated with conventional loudspeaker crossover configurations. As the systems are bi-amplified, there are no conventional passive crossovers employed, and the systems present a purely resistive load to the amplifiers, assuring power amplifier stability even at exceptionally elevated output levels. Internal wiring features cabling sourced from Transparent Audio, the industry's most respected audiophile cable manufacturer.

The technical specifications are indeed beyond impressive. For example, the LS4 features ultra-high efficiency (100 dB at 1 watt/2.83V), along with ultra-high power handling, allowing the system to generate clean, undistorted sound levels to beyond 130dB, completely avoiding the dynamic compression at elevated listening levels that plagues conventional cone and dome loudspeakers. The LS3 features similarly high efficiency and dynamic range capability, to ensure flawless reproduction regardless of the size of the music room, home theater or screening room.

Housed in an elegant, curved arc enclosure, the systems feature a unique aesthetic profile, from award-winning industrial designer Dan Ashcraft who notes, "The objective was to create a design that expresses the power, musical clarity and detail of the Wisdom Series LS4's amazing speaker technology and visually informs the listener that they are about to experience something completely new. The inspiration was to expose the structure of the 12 beautifully CNC machined aluminum driver frames with stainless steel micro perforated covers to create a spine, flanked by two burled walnut panels that all converge at one finite point - technology perfectly balanced." Additional finishes will be available, including matte black for behind-the-screen installations. As the depth of each on-wall enclosure is only 12 inches, customers also have the option of working with their interior designers to conceal otherwise visible LS4s and LS3s behind decorative, acoustically transparent cloth for a completely hidden and integrated installation.

Behind The Grille

At the heart of the new Wisdom Series models are the company's proprietary drivers, which are entirely different in form compared to conventional cones and domes, and require a completely different manufacturing process. For example, unlike conventional speaker drivers which are magnetized (energized) after assembly, the planar magnetic drivers used in the new Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3 models incorporate magnet assemblies that are pre-energized prior the driver's final assembly. As both Wisdom Series driver types incorporate a push-pull magnetic motor system, the brute force necessary to assemble a driver with opposing magnetic motors and pre-energized multiple magnets is indeed substantial - a twelve ton press is required.

As well, the amount of magnetic energy to achieve such high efficiency and wide dynamic range is similarly impressive. For example, the LS4 incorporates no fewer than 1,656 magnets, equal to 392 linear feet (120 meters). The lower range driver uses ceramic magnets, whilst the upper range driver incorporates neodymium magnets. The combined radiating area of the LS4's low range drivers is equivalent to 43 six-inch conventional drivers, while the combined radiating area of the LS4's high range drivers is equivalent to 96 one-inch dome tweeters. The LS3 is similarly endowed, using a total of 1,242 magnets, equal to 294 linear feet (90 meters), with a lower range radiating surface area equivalent to 32 six-inch drivers, and the high range surface radiating area is equivalent to 69 one-inch domes. Of course, due to the coherent wavefront planar magnetic line source design, the Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3 have none of the sonic aberrations caused by combing effects when multiple conventional drivers are combined in a system.

Optimized System Integration

The Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3 are designed to optimally mate with Wisdom Audio's STS Regenerative Transmission Line® subwoofer, which features the same combination of ultra-high efficiency and dynamic range. With an in-system (externally crossed over) frequency response from 15 Hz to 80 Hz and an efficiency of 101 dB at 1 watt/2.83V, the STS has the dynamic range to handle the deepest bass notes even at extreme output levels as high as 130 dB without distortion or strain. A reference level music system, home theater or screening room/post-production configuration will feature dual STS subwoofers mated to LS4s, LS3s or a combination of the two.

"The Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3 represent the pinnacle of my team's design capabilities in planar magnetic driver design, and showcase the benefits of our planar magnetic transducers and Regenerative Transmission Line® woofer alignments like none other. They surpass anything I have been involved in designing either for consumer or professional applications and establish a new benchmark for our transducer technology."

- Wisdom Audio's David Graebener

The Wisdom Series LS4 and LS3 systems will be unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011, with initial deliveries beginning in February. The North American MSRP will be $40,000 each for the Wisdom Series LS4, and $30,000 each for the Wisdom Series LS3.

For more information, please visit www.wisdomaudio.com or call (775) 887-8850.

About Wisdom Audio
Wisdom Audio is the leader in designing and manufacturing high-performance planar-magnetic transducers for architectural speaker applications with more than 100 man-years experience. Wisdom Audio was founded in 1996 to create no-compromise planar loudspeaker systems for the most demanding and critical audiophiles. Wisdom Audio systems employ proprietary, custom-made planar magnetic and dynamic transducers optimized for high performance, high-end architectural audio reproduction applications. Its hybrid-technology systems have earned praise and awards from the specialized media, while satisfying a growing base of customers and dealers worldwide. Wisdom Audio’s multi-award winning Sage Series architectural products are handcrafted in limited quantities by specialized craftsmen at its headquarters in Carson City, Nevada.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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