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Legacy Wavelet Attempted Review (Speaker Processor)

Rate this audio processor

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 153 93.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 6 3.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 3 1.8%

  • Total voters
    163

amirm

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This is a review and attempted measurements of the Legacy Audio Wavelet audio pre-amp/processor/DSP/Room EQ. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $4950.
Legacy wavelet processor Review DAC home theater room correction DSP.jpg


The industry design is decent with a dot matrix LED panel. I was shocked to see such an expensive processor come with an external power brick:

Legacy wavelet processor Review Back Panel DAC home theater room correction DSP.jpg


That was nothing compared to trying to get the unit on the network to configure it. There is an Ethernet port but no documentation on how to use it. Instead they have a horrible way to configure a wifi dongle (see above the unit). You first go to some website and give it your wifi config in addition to serial number of the device. it then creates a text config file which you put on a flash drive. You plug in the flash drive and pray that it does something useful in the one minute the company says to wait. In my case, that wait finished with "IP error." I guessed that this was due to not having plugged in the wifi dongle. I did that and after a power cycle thankfully it got on line.

Alas, once online I could not do anything to force the unit be in bypass mode. It comes configured with specialized setup for their speakers (?) as you will see in measurements.

Legacy Wavelet DAC Measurements
I attempted to use the USB input to test the DAC but with the cable I had, connection was too loose. It didn't work at first. Then it worked. Then it stopped working which I just touched the cable. After all the frustration of trying to network the thing, I was in no mood for messing with this so opted to conduct all the tests using S/PDIF input.

When I had the dashboard up, I thought I was going crazy because at first I would see this kind of performance:

Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC clipping home theater room correction DSP.png


Super strangely, if you keep increasing the volume, all of a sudden it switches to another gain mode where the clipping disappears! Here is that performance:
Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC home theater room correction DSP.png


Even this is nothing to write home about:
Best high-end audio processor reviewed 2022.png


I found the volume control to be very odd in operation. Sometimes it would go backward in level as I continued to dial it forward. It seems to have some kind of fine mode (?). Very frustrating.

Continuing on, this dynamic range at the above output level:
Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC DNR home theater room correction DSP.png


So just 16 bits worth of dynamic range in an application (home theater) where this is clearly insufficient (THX spec is 105 dB).

Before I go further, I decided to run frequency response test to make sure no processing was active:

Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC Frequency Response home theater room correction DSP.png


Clearly we have a high-pass crossover here but also a couple of corrections which I assume is needed for their speakers. I could not find a way to defeat either one of these. I found another measurement in some magazine where they also had to deal with the high pass crossover although they did not see the two boosted ranges. Given this, the measurements will not quite relate to other devices and hence my comment about this being an "attempted" review.

IMD test showed clipping which I did not see in 1 kHz test:

Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC IMD Distortion home theater room correction DSP.png


Linearity is not great:
Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC Linearity home theater room correction DSP.png


Jitter spikes can be masked by high noise floor:

Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC Jitter Distortion home theater room correction DSP.png


Strangest results were this:
Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC THD vs frequency  home theater room correction DSP.png


The rise in low frequencies is because the high pass filter reducing output and increasing noise component. But what is the explanation for the large distortion increase between 300 Hz and 1 kHz???

I could not run multitone test because 192 kHz is not supported on its S/PDIF input (most devices are this way).

Conclusions
It is tough to evaluate a device when it has built-in corrections that you can't defeat. But we have enough data here to not like the functionality of the device. And its performance (which by the way, matches the few bits measured by another site). The volume control/gain staging bug seems quite serious to me. You actually have the unit clipping, then going back to normal operation! You better use an amp that doesn't need more than 2 volts input (balanced) to reach its full output power or you will experience this problem.

Despite the difficulty of measuring the device, I am disappointed enough in its performance to not recommend it. Mind you, its room EQ and PEQ correction for their speakers may be great value add but there is no reason to have the device be this broken otherwise.

----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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Head_Unit

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a horrible way to configure
No excuse for stupid bull-oney like that. Nor for the clipping or barely-CD dynamic range for $5k. Too bad, I had hoped for more from Legacy. My version:
In this corner, the new contender: Anthem AVM70, had to make a Google profile to do something to pull up the site to configure and some other silliness I have managed to put out of my mind just to run ARC. $3800!
In the other corner, a grizzled veteran: Denon [AVR-X3600H, AVR-2312Ci, AVR-1612]: you go into the setup menu and run Audyssey. $500-$1100.
DING! We have a knockout! And no the AVM70 (+ATI 525NC) doesn't sound any better. A bit different probably due to ARC vs Audyssey but not better. Sorry if that's bursting anyone's bubble.
 

jam

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That was a quicky Amir, for what should have been a very interesting piece of gear to completely measure. Too bad it appears to be a flawed design or a broken unit. The Wavelet Processor is made by the Swedish firm Böhmer Audio. Considering that Legacy sells this unit as a DAC, DSP crossover and room correction combo for their Master Collection of high end active speakers, they must sound foul with this thing feeding them. That didn't stop The Absolute Sound from giving them their 2022 Editor's Choice award. :rolleyes:
 

Mike-48

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This device has received favorable subjective reviews for its digital room correction (DRC) performance. As a DRC user, I considered trying one, but I was put off by the need to have the manufacturer or distributor reconfigure the unit for different speakers or crossovers. Apparently, Böhmer provides configuration software, but not to end users. Competitors like Dirac or ARC have no such restriction.

When you make a room-correction run with the Wavelet, data are sent to Böhmer in Sweden, and the filters are downloaded to you. So the unit will be crippled should Böhmer cease providing that service.

I believe Böhmer has released a new version of this OEM device, and Legacy is selling it as Wavelet II. At least that's what I remember from a recent review.

I am ambivalent about the measurements, because it's hard to know how this unit was configured or misconfigured, and if when at its best, it's always this bad. It is sobering to see how badly this one performed, though. Based on listening to some of the same equipment, I had thought that Anthony Cordesman, who has reviewed several Wavelet-based Legacy speakers, had pretty good ears, so maybe this one isn't working as designed -- or maybe it is.

The Wavelet claims to be conceptually different from the usual PEQ approach to DRC, but it is hardly designed with the customer's ease of use or resale value in mind.

P.S. Thanks, Amir, for attempting to measure this thing!
 
Last edited:

enricoclaudio

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Thanks @amirm for another, revealing???…review!!! This “device” seems kinda confusing and make no sense to me!!! Can’t figure for what kind of “consumer/audiophile” is marketed…
 

jam

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When you make a room-correction run with the Wavelet, data are sent to Böhmer in Sweden, and the filters are downloaded to you. So the unit will be crippled should Böhmer cease providing that service.

I believe Böhmer has released a new version of this OEM device, and Legacy is selling it as Wavelet II. At least that's what I remember from a recent review.
Having to send the data from the room measurements to the maker for filter generation would be a deal breaker for me when as you mention competing solutions like Dirac, ARC, Audyssey, Lyngdorf, etc., allow the end user to generate them to his heart's content.

The Wavelet II appear to be the unit Amir has tested. Look here on Legacy's website, they show this very same unit and refer to it as the Wavelet II.
 

sam_adams

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This is a review and attempted measurements of the Legacy Audio Wavelet audio pre-amp/processor/DSP/Room EQ. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $4950.

I sure hope the owner of this device has a conversation with Legacy about what we are seeing here.
 

enricoclaudio

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Having to send the data from the room measurements to the maker for filter generation would be a deal breaker for me when as you mention competing solutions like Dirac, ARC, Audyssey, Lyngdorf, etc., allow the end user to generate them to his heart's content.

The Wavelet II appear to be the unit Amir has tested. Look here on Legacy's website, they show this very same unit and refer to it as the Wavelet II.
Well not too different from Dirac approach as Dirac filters are also generated by Dirac servers but at least the end user has access to it but if Dirac servers are down or you don’t have internet access, you can’t run Dirac…
 

JohnBooty

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When you make a room-correction run with the Wavelet, data are sent to Böhmer in Sweden, and the filters are downloaded to you. So the unit will be crippled should Böhmer cease providing that service.
Well not too different from Dirac approach as Dirac filters are also generated by Dirac servers but at least the end user has access to it but if Dirac servers are down or you don’t have internet access, you can’t run Dirac…
Wow, this is absolutely insane. Well, not "insane", more like evil.

So this unit becomes a $5K brick when this company goes out of business or decides to stop supporting this product?

As a child I was so excited about technology in general and the internet in particular. But this is what it has devolved into: a lot of user-hostile crap.
 

retro

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Having to send the data from the room measurements to the maker for filter generation would be a deal breaker for me when as you mention competing solutions like Dirac, ARC, Audyssey, Lyngdorf, etc., allow the end user to generate them to his heart's content.
AFAIK, it's the same with Dirac. U need internet connection and the measurements are sent to a Dirac server for calculations and generating filters. After that, u are free to play with target curves etc. I think it's the same with Audiolense and Trinnov, but it's been a while since I used them, so not 100% sure on those...
They do it to protect their code and patents.

Edit, enricoclaudio beat me..:)
 

HammerSandwich

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When I had the dashboard up, I thought I was going crazy because at first I would see this kind of performance:

Legacy wavelet processor measurements DAC clipping home theater room correction DSP.png
They did a great job matching the channels.

On the flip side, gaining 11 bits of SINAD but still having <15 bits of performance is a drag, man.
 

retro

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BTW, I know people who owns and uses the Böhmer and wouldn't trade it for anything. FWIW.

 
OP
amirm

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I am ambivalent about the measurements, because it's hard to know how this unit was configured or misconfigured, and if when at its best, it's always this bad.
As I noted, this was reviewed by a magazine which I assume had the company in the loop. They measured second harmonic at -87 dB when using 2 volt out. That would make their best case SINAD 87 dB which matches my measurements.
 

DavidMcRoy

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Is the EQ peak between 300Hz and 1kHz causing the odd distortion bump? Anyway, maybe this thing needs a hard reset or something?
 

iMickey503

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Could the power supply Brick pose a problem? It seems a bit low on power if I can make out the text, but it looks like maybe 2 amps. Spec calls for a 5 amp supply. And I checked the Manual for this, at it does not look like the OEM supply.
images

With all those outputs, it would seem this would be a BIT small.
I don't think it made that much of a difference, but thought maybe I should point it out since I noticed it.

Found this also
image.php
image.php

Not sure if this is an upgrade to solve problems or what.
But it states its a liner power supply.

Just seems weird something geared towards room correction has all the chops of a USB sound card from Fleabay.
Maybe there is some room on the table with a firmware upgrade hopefully.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Is the EQ peak between 300Hz and 1kHz causing the odd distortion bump? Anyway, maybe this thing needs a hard reset or something?
It has no hard reset/factor reset/bypass, etc. It may be switching gain stages or something causing milder clipping.
 

Nango

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This is a review and attempted measurements of the Legacy Audio Wavelet audio pre-amp/processor/DSP/Room EQ. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $4950.
View attachment 205033

The industry design is decent with a dot matrix LED panel. I was shocked to see such an expensive processor come with an external power brick:

View attachment 205034

That was nothing compared to trying to get the unit on the network to configure it. There is an Ethernet port but no documentation on how to use it. Instead they have a horrible way to configure a wifi dongle (see above the unit). You first go to some website and give it your wifi config in addition to serial number of the device. it then creates a text config file which you put on a flash drive. You plug in the flash drive and pray that it does something useful in the one minute the company says to wait. In my case, that wait finished with "IP error." I guessed that this was due to not having plugged in the wifi dongle. I did that and after a power cycle thankfully it got on line.

Alas, once online I could not do anything to force the unit be in bypass mode. It comes configured with specialized setup for their speakers (?) as you will see in measurements.

Legacy Wavelet DAC Measurements
I attempted to use the USB input to test the DAC but with the cable I had, connection was too loose. It didn't work at first. Then it worked. Then it stopped working which I just touched the cable. After all the frustration of trying to network the thing, I was in no mood for messing with this so opted to conduct all the tests using S/PDIF input.

When I had the dashboard up, I thought I was going crazy because at first I would see this kind of performance:

View attachment 205036

Super strangely, if you keep increasing the volume, all of a sudden it switches to another gain mode where the clipping disappears! Here is that performance:
View attachment 205037

Even this is nothing to write home about:
View attachment 205038

I found the volume control to be very odd in operation. Sometimes it would go backward in level as I continued to dial it forward. It seems to have some kind of fine mode (?). Very frustrating.

Continuing on, this dynamic range at the above output level:
View attachment 205039

So just 16 bits worth of dynamic range in an application (home theater) where this is clearly insufficient (THX spec is 105 dB).

Before I go further, I decided to run frequency response test to make sure no processing was active:

View attachment 205040

Clearly we have a high-pass crossover here but also a couple of corrections which I assume is needed for their speakers. I could not find a way to defeat either one of these. I found another measurement in some magazine where they also had to deal with the high pass crossover although they did not see the two boosted ranges. Given this, the measurements will not quite relate to other devices and hence my comment about this being an "attempted" review.

IMD test showed clipping which I did not see in 1 kHz test:

View attachment 205041

Linearity is not great:
View attachment 205042

Jitter spikes can be masked by high noise floor:

View attachment 205043

Strangest results were this:
View attachment 205044

The rise in low frequencies is because the high pass filter reducing output and increasing noise component. But what is the explanation for the large distortion increase between 300 Hz and 1 kHz???

I could not run multitone test because 192 kHz is not supported on its S/PDIF input (most devices are this way).

Conclusions
It is tough to evaluate a device when it has built-in corrections that you can't defeat. But we have enough data here to not like the functionality of the device. And its performance (which by the way, matches the few bits measured by another site). The volume control/gain staging bug seems quite serious to me. You actually have the unit clipping, then going back to normal operation! You better use an amp that doesn't need more than 2 volts input (balanced) to reach its full output power or you will experience this problem.

Despite the difficulty of measuring the device, I am disappointed enough in its performance to not recommend it. Mind you, its room EQ and PEQ correction for their speakers may be great value add but there is no reason to have the device be this broken otherwise.

----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
$4.950??? Teardown, teardown!!
 
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