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Reviewer: Edgar Kramer
Financial Interests: click here
Source Digital: Metronome T-1i CD player with DAISy HE Remote Control
Preamp/Integrated: Supratek Sauvignon with NOS RCA and Bendix tubes; NuForce P9
Amplifier: NuForce Reference 9 V2 Special Edition monoblocks
Speakers: Wilson Audio Specialties WATT/Puppy System 6
Cables: Digital: Cerious Technologies; Harmonic Technology Magic; Interconnect: Cable Research Laboratory (CRL) Gold with Bocchino XLR and RCA; Cerious Technologies; Harmonic Technology Magic and Truthlink Silver; DanA Digital Reference Silver; Eichmann eXpress 6 Series 2; Bocchino Audio Morning Glory; PSC Audio Pristine R30 Ribbon [on loan]; Speaker: Cerious Technologies and Harmonic Technology PRO-9+ loudspeaker cables; Power: Cerious Technologies AC; Harmonic Technology Fantasy; Shunyata Research Diamondback, Eichmann eXpress AC power cables; PSC Gold Power MKII AC cable
Stands: Finite Elemente Pagode Signature equipment racks
Powerline conditioning: PS Audio P-300 Power Plant (digital equipment only)
Acoustic treatment: Fonic Designer panels and StudioCel bass traps
Sundry accessories: Burson Audio Buffer, Bright Star Audio IsoRock Reference 3, Bright Star Audio IsoRock 4 isolation platforms and BSA IsoNode feet; Bocchino Audio Mecado isolation diodes; Black Diamond Racing cones; Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions around DAC, Shakti On Lines; Densen CD demagnetizer; Auric Illuminator CD Treatment; ASC Tube Traps
Room size: 17' w x 35' d x 12' h in short wall setup, opens to adjoining kitchen
Review component retail: AUD $9,990–$14,990

The Big Red
Legend Acoustics is an Australian company with a remarkable design heritage that places it in a position of unique strength in the Australian market and stands it amongst the 'world class' in the crowded international loudspeaker arena. Proprietor and chief designer Dr. Rod Crawford's prior speaker design stint at Linn Audio was a factor in that company's golden age of speaker production and resulted in some of Linn's most highly regarded models, amongst them the Kaber, Nexus, Keltik and Tukan.

The speaker that is the subject of this review is Legend Acoustics' top of the line, the Kumbar Wirri. Kumbar Wirri is aboriginal for 'Big Red', the largest of the Australian Kangaroo species. The Kumbar Wirri is a two box per channel design made up of a slightly modified Kurre (Version 5) acting as the mid- and high-frequency transducer, sitting atop the Kurlo, a 500-watt Class-D powered bipolar subwoofer. Both designs are available individually, albeit in a slightly different form for the Kurlo. The Kurre uses the highly regarded Scanspeak 8545 driver (as used on many of the best speaker designs) for midrange/midbass duties and a 25mm Visaton KE25SC pure ceramic tweeter for the top end. The Kurlo is a cut-off pyramidal bipolar subwoofer whose dual purpose is to serve as the stand for the Kurre (à la WATT/Puppy), placing the tweeter at the ideal ear level; and provide the prodigious low-frequency output of which this system is capable.

Contained within the elegant Kurlo are two Peerless XLS 254mm (10-inch) drivers, one on either side of the enclosure. These are driven (in parallel) by the previously mentioned 500-watt class-D amplifier, which has a linear power supply. Connections and features are aplenty, including a 180° phase switch, volume control, variable crossover frequency control (50-160Hz) and an auto stand-by power switch and circuit. Methods of signal connection are via low-level line input (RCA connectors) and high-level via conventional speaker binding posts.

My review pair of Kumbar Wirris came in a gorgeous piano black finish. The speakers will be soon available in real wood veneers such as Jarrah and Cherry lacquered and polished to an equivalently high gloss. Legend's Kumbar Wirri comes in two versions. The model I have described so far is technically known as the 'passive' version, though because of the active subwoofer, it would be more accurately described as 'semi-passive'. This speaker system retails for AUD$8,990. In addition, this flagship model is available in a fully active configuration (AUD$14,990) which includes DEQX's superb new PDC-3 digital 'Swiss Army knife' processor/amplifier.

The DEQX PDC-3 is an Australian-made all-in-one-box digital solution that not only contains four amplifiers to power the Kurre's mid/high-frequency drive units individually, but astonishingly at the price, this extremely clever solution also provides room correction software via the supplied calibration microphone, speaker correction, timing error correction in real time, an active digital crossover, a preamplifier with analogue volume control and a 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analogue converter (DAC).

What this means is that all an astute audio enthusiast needs in terms of additional hardware is a CD or DVD transport with a digital output to connect straight to the PDC-3's digital input and voilà, a fully operational system with complete and comprehensive DSP capabilities materializes in front of you. In addition, the PDC-3 includes further inputs, both digital and analogue, to accommodate sophisticated multiple-source systems or for those who wish to utilize their precious exotic valve preamplifiers. Yet another (partially active) version is available where you may use the DEQX for all the DSP processing and DAC duties but use your own preferred amplification.

The Kurre's sensitivity is rated at 87dBSPL, about average for a speaker of its size, and presents a reasonably amplifier-friendly 8-ohm impedance. System frequency response is claimed as 20Hz to 25kHz, but no 3dB down points are stated. Recommended power for the top module is between 50 and 400 watts. Legend Acoustics provides a generous and confidence-inspiring 10-year warranty.

Fitting in the Pouch
I first configured the Kumbar Wirris in the active DEQX format. After placing the speakers in roughly the same position as my reference, Kim Ryrie from DEQX and Rod Crawford began the reasonably straightforward process of calibrating and equalizing the speakers in the context of my larger-than-average listening room. By the way, this installation did not constitute preferential treatment: a DEQX representative or a similarly trained retailer will perform the same service for anyone who buys a pair of Kumbar Wirris according to Crawford. Mind you, even if you're only modestly computer savvy, you can have a lot of fun setting up and playing around with the various software intricacies without the aid of a professional.
Using the supplied calibration microphone and a laptop, the captured PDC-3 generated test tones resulted in a room response that Ryrie graphed as being reasonably flat throughout the treble and down to the midrange. Good news so far. However, further south of the midrange is where most rooms exhibit bass issues. And indeed, my room proved no different, with Ryrie noting a couple of peaks in the 120Hz and 60Hz regions and a horrid dip at about 35Hz. This is where the DEQX proves to be an incredibly powerful tool for audio enthusiasts. With a flick of a computer mouse, Ryrie literally dragged the curve into proper alignment, flattening it at the frequency points where it peaked and troughed to compensate for the inherent room modes. The subsequent sonic result was a total exorcism of room-related bass boom, with the upshot being tight, punchy and detailed bass like I've never before heard it in my room.

In addition to the flat room-corrected response, four individual EQ profiles can be stored in memory for your listening pleasure. The correct flat version was stored as 'Profile 1', after which I asked Ryrie to store a further profile with a 2dB lift in the overall bass region, purely to cater to my indulgence and warped sense of fun. Subsequent formal listening sessions were carried out using both profiles depending on the nature and recorded quality of each music piece.