The Whisper XDS was here on display at AXPONA, like it has been (in some version or other) for most of the audio shows where I’ve found Bill Dudleston. It’s iconic — the giant, open-baffle plinth is about as distinctive as it gets in audio’s high-end. The newest model comes with a the AMT driver square in it’s giant, flat, face.
The sheer number of the drivers is daunting, but what’s most surprising is the soft touch this speaker is able to manage. Yeah, yeah, whatever — it’s all about the thunder, innit? Well, that’s where four 15″ drivers help out. Ahem.
Pricing starts at $23.5k; the rosewood finish shown here brought that up to $24,750/pair. I did not get to hear the $10,615/pair Focus SE (in walnut), which may well be one of the biggest bargains in audio’s high-end today. No, $11k isn’t cheap — but if you’re familiar with the eye-poppinig prices that full range loudspeakers commonly command … yeah. ‘Nuff said.
In the back of the room was a pair of the new Aeris, shown here in a new-to-me finish Bill calls “Black Pearl” ($20,735). I’m already on record as saying that I think this is my favorite in the lineup, so I won’t rehash, but look and feel of this speaker is top shelf.
The gear driving this setup was the $5,200 Coda TS amplifier and the $3,500 Coda CP pre. An Oppo BDP-103 was used as a source. Morrow Audio cables were also used here as well. I was able to slip into the room during a lull and caught up with Bill and his daughter, Victoria. Father-daughter teams are too rare, so I hope you’ll indulge one father getting all mushy about another. Innit it sweet? Gah. I’m such a sap.
In other news, Bill gave a talk on “The Future of Loudspeakers” at AXPONA. Here’s what he had to say:
Conventional speaker designs don’t radiation uniformly throughout their frequency range. They tend to be hyper-cardiod in the treble, broadly cardioid in the mids, while omni-directional in the bass. This result is a non-uniform and unnatural power response.
Full range Omnis can be more uniform, but can’t preserve stereo information due to high diffusion into the room. More than 70% of what you are hearing is room contribution and reflection and a ‘they are here’ character is imparted as the brain attaches the dominating room dependent signature. The bottom line is the acoustic shadow of the nose into the far ear is lost due to diffuse side fill.
Legacy has developed a radiation pattern control that is far more uniform with frequency and is not subject to early diffuse reflections. Additionally Legacy is nearing completion on a processor that will identify problematic room resonances from late energy buildup and move this energy back in time. Legacy intends to show this processor with a new flagship prototype at the October RMAF in Denver. The processor will perform as a preamp/DAC/crossover that automatically samples and corrects for resonances. The unit will utilize a mobile app to provide simplified user control.
As for us, we’re gonna be there with bells on.