- May 16, 2012
- Houston, TX
- Real Name
- Dave Upton
It’s difficult to explain exactly why I am obsessed with subwoofers. It’s not necessarily the sound that interests me; it’s the tactile aspect of accurate and powerful bass reproduction that truly engages my interest. Anyone who has attended a live concert or played on stage in a large band knows what it feels like for sound to move through your body – as each extremity and finally your abdomen is suffused with sonic energy. Reproducing sound like this is something difficult to do with the majority of subwoofers on today’s market, certainly below the price points most of us consider attainable.
Companies like Legacy Audio and its president and founder Bill Duddleston exist because of passion for audio. They relentlessly pursue the life-like sound so many of us have only heard at concert venues or on a dubbing stage, and they do so with a level of engineering acumen and persistence that deserves recognition.
A single look at the Legacy Audio website will demonstrate that Bill doesn’t like to build a speaker that compromises. Even his smallest offering, the Studio HD features drivers of a quality you rarely see in a monitor today. I was first introduced to Legacy Audio sonically when Bill sent me a pair of FOCUS SE speakers for review last year. Suffice to say, I was forever changed by that experience. The simple experience of listening to the FOCUS SE was enough to give me a new benchmark by which I now measure full range speakers. One of the cornerstones of the FOCUS SE design is pair of 12” woofers – a feature that allows them to play flat to 20Hz with surprising musicality and brute force.
Some time after I had reluctantly surrendered the FOCUS SE, I came upon Legacy Audio’s line of subwoofers. I was instantly intrigued for a variety of reasons, and reached out to Bill to ask for a review sample. Shortly thereafter – a beautiful Metro in rosewood arrived.
Fit, Finish & Specifications
The Metro is a deceptively small subwoofer. A 16” cube – the Metro features a 12” high-excursion Aura driver and a 15” down-firing passive radiator. All this is powered by an internal 500W Class D plate amplifier and comes in what I have to admit is one of the most gorgeous cabinets I have seen in a subwoofer. The beveled edges perfectly align to Legacy’s speaker line up, but even alone give a distinctive and aggressive look that one can’t help appreciating.
The Metro has a useable frequency response down to 25Hz and is capable of producing 117 dB at 1 meter – an impressive feat for such a reasonably sized enclosure. It should be noted that Bill does not apply any proprietary EQ to the Metro’s output – in his own words “without a false upper bass coloration”.
Mickey Hart – Global Drum Project
I started using this album for subwoofer reviews recently while I was spending time with the SVS SB13-Ultra, and was happy to use it once more with the Legacy Metro. There’s something essentially “right” about testing a subwoofer using drum albums, and Mickey Hart’s work is some of the best for this task. Some of the content plays as deep as the low teens, while the sheer speed and complexity of some compositions make them ideally suited to testing the articulation and musicality of a subwoofer.
I began my listening session with the Metro with the usual sweeps and electronica, trying to get a feel for how much oomph the sound had, but shortly queued up this album and quickly forgot about my plans. I spent the better part of 20 minutes enjoying the music, taking a journey around the globe with the wonderful musicians who contributed to this album. The Metro – for its part, disappeared into the recording, reproducing tympai, conga and many drums I could never hope to name with aplomb. The Metro didn’t dig as deep as some subs I have reviewed – but it was sweet, musical and extremely tight.
Bobono – Black Sands
I’m a big fan of Bonobo’s music when I’m relaxing with friends or just want something a little more upbeat than your standard lounge music. Luckily – Black Sands also features plentiful bass that has a tendency to get horribly mangled by less capable subwoofers.
Playing through this album with the Metro I was extremely impressed – it maintained its composure while digging deep and best of all, the densely packed bass line retained its integrity. The Metro didn’t give the same visceral impact I’ve experienced with some home theater oriented subs, but easily wins in terms of overall sound quality and blending with the mains.
My time with the Metro was brief, but it was exceptionally enjoyable. Simply put this is a subwoofer that owns every piece of music it is asked to reproduce, without exception. I’m certain you can find a sub that plays deeper, in fact I’ve heard many of them, but few can play this accurately. The Metro is a subwoofer, but it wants to be part of your speakers and effortlessly blends in when properly integrated.
The cabinetry is beautiful, the veneer is flawless, and the overall build quality is second to none as I have witnessed in every Legacy Audio product I have reviewed. In terms of weaker points, I do believe that the cabinet should have a bit more mass – as I found the sub was easily capable of moving itself around on wood or tile floor thanks to the high excursion woofer. Should you be listening at moderate volumes or in a carpeted room, I doubt this will pose a problem, however it bears mentioning for those who adore higher volume listening.
The Metro is a slightly higher cost alternative than some internet direct competitors, but it caters to a fundamentally different market. While fully capable in the home theater, the Metro seems to be a thoroughbred musical subwoofer, born and bred to reproduce musical bass as the artist intended. When paired with a capable pair of floor standing speakers or perhaps even better some bookshelves or monitors, the Metro can fill out the bottom end while blending almost completely; delivering an experience I’ve rarely matched outside of monolithic towers like Legacy’s FOCUS SE. Recommended.