CAF 2018: Legacy Audio, Raven Audio and the Texas Tube Sound

I have an interesting history with both Raven Audio and Legacy Audio. Back when I lived in Texas, I’d travel up to the Lone Star Audio Fest which was held in Dallas every May. We even exhibited once or twice. LMAF is one of those small regional shows, mostly populated by the DIY crowd—you’ll see a lot of speaker prototypes that are still made from plywood cabinets, with a proud designer sitting nearby and gladly selling the schematics for very reasonable prices.

Deep in the Heart of Texas Audio

Raven Audio and Legacy were always at the show—they were the proverbial big fishes in a little pond and always exhibited in the biggest room at the hotel. Legacy was already an established speaker company—the rep used to drive down from somewhere in Illinois—when I first attended LMAF in 2011. Raven, however was Texas-born and bred. It’s been quite a thrill to watch this tube amplifier company grow into such a big presence in the industry—something that was amply demonstrated at the 2018 Capital Audiofest.

Raven always exhibits in a huge room—you’ll never see more gleaming tube amps in a single hotel in your life. The company was showing off its new affordable Avian line in numerous systems—I was able to listen to everything from the Nighthawk Mk. III integrated amp (from $2695) to the Osprey Mk. III (from $4595). The bigger the Legacy speakers, the bigger the amp, which culminated in the East Coast debut of the Legacy Valor speakers ($80,000/pair) powered by the Raven Audio Silhouette Mk.II monoblocks ($25,995/pair).

I was most impressed with a modestly-priced two-way from Legacy called the Studio HD ($1795/pair). Not only was it very attractive in its proportions and veneer, it filled the big room with some might impressive bass. This might be a contender for one of the best 2-ways under $2,000.

A Great Synergy

All in all, I listened to at least a half-dozen systems in this big room—it was fun to watch the staff suddenly stop and rearrange all the chairs in the room toward one of the many revolving systems along the perimeter. It’s clear that Legacy and Raven sound great together, especially since they’ve been “together” for so long. There’s a clarity to the sound that is unique for tube amps, and the Legacy speakers excel at low frequencies. If you think that most tube amps don’t have enough oomph for you, you need to audition this combination.