System Audio Legend 40.2 Silverback Loudspeaker Page 2

All of the above could help get the Legend 40.2 Silverback singing sweetly in your listening room, but nothing is a substitute for optimal placement of the cabinets. SA recommends a minimum 20cm clearance from the rear walls, a 15° toe-in and an 'ideal' listening distance of 2.5m-3m. Remember that although the speaker retains the rear-facing bass reflex port of the passive box, the vent is sealed in this Silverback guise.

sqnote Weight Gain
Getting a grasp of the Legend 40.2 Silverback's sound is less straightforward than with most speakers, due to its changeable nature, but with the 'out-of-the-box' DSP in charge and no adjustments made to the EQ it reminded me – unsurprisingly – of the company's passive 40 model, albeit with some changes in sonic profile. The earlier speed and detail was just as obvious, but this pricier model also sounded weightier, more purposeful and more full-range.

Feeling Lucky, Punk
Metallica's mid '90s reinvention as a hard rock outfit resulted in a barrage of bass-rich, up-tempo tracks, none more energetic than 'Prince Charming' [Reload; Vertigo 536 409-2], which was delivered with just the right sense of snarl and grit. The guitar riff was crunchy, accompanied by focused, taut drums, and while the speaker couldn't do much about the recording's lack of tonal subtlety, it ably kept up with the seat-of-your-pants presentation.

Lalo Schifrin's 'Main Title' from the Dirty Harry soundtrack [CD rip; Aleph Records] let the Legend 40.2 Silverback make a scintillating impression. The Argentine composer lays on everything from a quick-fingered bassline and sustained cello notes to synthesised strings and tabla drums. Here each instrument arrived with its own noticeable timbre and character, and didn't fight for space on a soundstage with good depth.

At this point I uploaded System Audio's RT300 RAM Tweak, with its promise of a more analytical sound and greater bass extension. It was the latter that I found noticeable in my room, and in truth it served to over-emphasise some of the Schifrin track's deepest double-bass notes, making them sound too plump and indistinct. I preferred the less aggressive profile of the RT250 RAM Tweak to this one, but eventually reverted back to the default RT200.


In this active 'Silverback' version of the Legend 40.2 the port is plugged inside to yield a sealed-box bass alignment. Input is via balanced XLR or wireless via the Stereo Hub. Sensitivity (amplifier gain) can be adjusted by ±6dB and the speaker configured for stereo or multichannel duty via the back panel

A criticism that can be levelled at the Legend 40.2 Silverback is that there are limitations put on its presentation by the cabinets and drivers themselves. As I said earlier, this is a slim, not-too-tall loudspeaker with modestly-sized bass drivers, and so while it's capable of sounding deliciously punchy and dynamic, and 'larger' than it looks, it still didn't overwhelm with me with a room-filling sound, regardless of volume.

By way of example, the euphoric tech rhythms of Paul van Dyk's 'Touched By Heaven' [From Then On; Vandit Records] were pushed forward brilliantly, the speaker's amplification proving more than adequate. But while the Legend 40.2 Silverback certainly gave a grippy portrayal of the backing piano and drums with Adele's 'Set Fire To The Rain' [21; XL Recordings XLCD520], it never allowed them to really fly into the room.

Home Improvement
It made light work of Adele's vocals though, leaving them hanging and emotive in the centre of the stereo image, albeit without the sense of unfettered openness that can be found on more accomplished systems. Meanwhile, the articulation of Johnny Cash's vocal on 'Hurt' [American IV; American Recordings 063 339-2] was spine-tingling.

The evenings, on the whole, may be getting lighter and warmer but I was still inspired to spin John Williams' 'Holiday Flight' theme from Christmas flick Home Alone [CD rip to FLAC; CBS Masterworks], a bell-festooned, jumpy orchestral piece with stabbing brass chords and crashing cymbals. System Audio's active towers brought dynamism to the piece, avoiding a slurry presentation for something that sounded lively and powerful without losing track of its major key musicality. I closed down the app, shoved my USB stick in a drawer, and enjoyed the show.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Definitely a case of 'more than meets the eye', System Audio's slender midrange active speaker arguably overflows with customisation potential, from automated and manual EQ via the optional Stereo Hub to a pick 'n' mix approach to DSP. Tweakers will enjoy the flexibility, but more enjoyable still is the Legend 40.2's compelling sound, which majors on resolution, bass power and a fine grasp of rhythm.

System Audio A/S
Supplied by: Karma-AV Ltd, York
01423 358846