EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars

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Rclark

EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« on: 3 Sep 2012, 06:32 am »
Epik Subwoofers, located near Chicago, are a special company that people have known about for some time by their numerous and varied, heroically titled models of all types. The focus: American made, audiophile grade subwoofers that will knock your socks off for not a lot of coin. There have been massive low bass refridgerators like the Conquest, or smaller subs like the Phoenix or Dragon. Today the model lineup consists of a pair of dual driver sealed subs: the larger home theater version, the Empire, and the smaller Legend. More models are in the works, with possibly a dual 18.

Founder Chad Kuypers has been at this speaker thing nearing two decades now, so this is no upstart. With his company Epik, he focuses purely on audiophile subwoofers, and nothing else. As a Yale trained classical musician, and with experience both recording and playing, he brings a refined, well developed ear to the table.

I missed low bass in my system. My speakers as many of you know are modded MMG’s of the Peter Gunn variety. Now, MMG’s in their stock form have anemic bass and my large ported 10” Kef subwoofer worked well here, and also very well with my GR Insignia monitors. The 120 watt, big-box ported sub sounded downright snappy in either of those systems. Sounded awesome. Several months later and post Maggie mod, however, the greater bass power and refinement of the Magnestand destroyed any blend between that sub and the speakers. The sub now sounded slow, bloated, overly rumbly, just no blend whatsoever, no matter how much dial twisting or moving the sub around. It’s sat in my living room gathering dust ever since and I’ve been happily 2.0 for many months. Which shocked me to pieces because I am a low bass guy. The thought of a perfectly good subwoofer sitting around, unplugged was perplexing and amusing at that time.

 The Epik Legend is a sealed subwoofer utilizing a pair of proprietary, design focused 12” drivers in a dual, opposed, “Parallel Drive” configuration. It is the smaller brother to the Epik Empire, which utilizes dual 15’s and is more marketed to the home theater crowd, or rather that is the group that has adopted it. I had planned on adding subs later on at the end of my system build.. and my number one choice was always the Epik Legend, for several reasons. This subwoofer rose to the top during countless internet searches for Magnepan compatible subs that were both of very high quality but were also affordable enough to reasonably allow a swarm to be gathered in short order. The multiple sealed subwoofer approach, rather than open baffle, is the approach that has me the most intrigued and excited at this time, and the Legend, each with dual opposed 12’s, is in a unique position to offer audiophile sized drivers, and with three or four of them in room offer both massive cone area, far smoother room node coverage with the dual opposed design, I just see a lot of advantages here.

 For starters, you have a very clever design that eliminates the need for a lot of enclosure weight (although the sub does weigh nearly 80 lbs), the need for isolation platforms, ridiculous amounts of bracing, filling with sand, mounting with spikes, all of those inventions are rendered moot by the ingenious dual opposed configuration, a design that is sealed, with a natural room rolloff, yet has similar output to vented with none of the drawbacks. There is simply no cabinet vibration. Period. Zero. With the drivers nearly jumping out the sides, and with your hands on the enclosure, you would swear the sub was off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilxNuhomirU

 -Epik Empire footage, coins laid upright and a water filled container on top as the subs are PUMPING bass. You can see bass waves travelling through the water but absolutely zero ripples, in other words, nothing from the cabinet itself, and the coins remain upright. Realize how many spl's are happening and focus on the coins as well. Be impressed, I sure as hell am. That water and those coins look like they're atop a single driver cabinet made of granite and bolted with depleted uranium shafts to the core of the earth. Dual opposed drivers are an excellent configuration. No dramatic tweaks or build mods necessary, you can keep your sand.

  And the dual opposed configuration acts very nearly like a pair of separate subs. And then there’s the price. Everyone knows that subwoofers are special. Unlike speakers or preamps or dacs, subwoofers are the one item you can just.. keep on adding more of to improve system performance. With dual opposed 12’s per box, audiophile quality engineering, a fine fit and finish, and a reasonable cost of $900 per American Made pair, I just had to have these as my subs, and I prayed that they would work in my highly modded Magnepan system. Especially after recently hearing those speakers with Ncores and knowing that those amps would be back in my system soon. These subs had to match up. I gambled on a used one.


This Epic Legend subwoofer has stolen the show in my system and every time I enter the room my eyes are drawn to it; I just want to hear it play music. I’ve never felt this way about a subwoofer before. Subs have always been this thing meant for movies, flapping your pants in the now clichéd DWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo…ooooo….oooommmm bass drop used every couple of minutes (for no real reason other than to keep your attention at what would otherwise be pure drivel). I’m quite certain in the future they will make fun of us for all the bass drops we used in movies.

As far as music, subs, for my experience, were also meant for vague or nearly accurate tonal changes in music.

This subwoofer is a revelation! Agile as Spiderman, strong as the Hulk; it doesn’t blurt out the endless, overbearing, fatiguing low rumble that is so in vogue right now. And it doesn’t ...mostly keep up with mains speakers and make a sort of approximation; this sub is capable of playing individual bass notes with pinpoint accuracy, and I like to say that this is not a subwoofer, but a musical instrument designed to play bass. In fact, the thought of a few more of these in my room with some basstrapping has me in ****cking goosebumps. Yes, that excited. I didn’t realize low bass could be this good and I rub my hands at the thought of how little I’ll spend for multiples of them. The sheer musicality, the brawny, V-twin like ease of 2 twelve’s, the plug and play matchup with my Magnepans, these are definitely the answer to my low bass needs.

In fact, I would describe the sound of this sub as “speakerlike”. Its midbass punch is fast and clean, and this quality extends all the way to 16 hz, verified via test tones.

I’d always heard how difficult it was to match up Magnepans with a sub, that it is some excruciating process, and it is true, again, after getting my ‘stands back from PG, the ported KEF was a no go, but this Epik integrated within a few minutes, right were I set it down, with a rough estimate of crossover and gain. Nothing short of astounding. The beautiful tone of the Magnepan is matched here as though they were made for each other.

 This is like going from a Pontiac Firebird V-8, to a … Lotus Exige. It possesses formidable music capability not exposed before by the “look dude! here comes that scene” crowd that constitutes the bulk of subwoofer reviews in general.

 Don’t get me wrong, it will pound out some bass music, I’ve tried it, and those woofers sure can jump out of the box, the cabinet silent and unaffected like a black hole between two neutron stars of bass. The legend is that Epik subs never bottom out, just as those epic solar dynamo’s will never escape the gravity of their fate. It is fully capable of getting you in trouble with your neighbors.

 Yet capable of filling the room with balanced, delicate bass, and by delicate I mean clearly played.. individual…notes, with all the nuance of a live bass guitar, at least as live as the recording you are playing… doesn’t call attention to itself (except for sounding gorgeous)

 There is some blur, but I can tell that it is my room, not the sub at all. Only treatments can fix that, and I have no doubt that one I do that, and add some more of these....

To put a stamp on things, I

I LOVE MY EPIK LEGEND.



 the shots on the website make it seem kinda puny, here you can see they are large and deep 12" drivers. The cones extend very deeply equalling lots of surface area




 The fit and finish is fabulous (come on, $500 American made??!!), the grills go on and come off with pneumatic smoothness. Pardon the background, someone was moving.





 Creamy new colors schemes available soon (hinted at, so far only black)

 

 My references for the test were NUMEROUS albums which portrayed the best possible bass playing possible, but the one I kept going to over and over again was:

 The Way Up Live, a live concert video by the Pat Metheny group. This sub was able to play the bass (and midbass- this sub is reknowned for its midbass as well) parts in this album with all the zip, zing, and colorful density of a fine instrument. I even played it with my speakers off and listened with a huge grin. Like I said, there are some small issues with my room (this isn't an OB after all) that I will need to attend to, but I am this close.






« Last Edit: 3 Sep 2012, 02:49 pm by Rclark »

JohnR

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #1 on: 3 Sep 2012, 06:45 am »
Are you high-passing the MMGs?

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #2 on: 3 Sep 2012, 06:46 am »

 Well with the Ncores they ran full range, and much more powerfully/deeper, in this configuration with the Virtue, I have the sub crossed much higher.

JohnR

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #3 on: 3 Sep 2012, 09:14 am »
But are you high passing the MMGs?

usp1

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Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #4 on: 3 Sep 2012, 02:40 pm »
It wasn't clear from your review...but did you like this sub?...... :D

Nice review RClark.... helps my decision making process.

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #5 on: 3 Sep 2012, 02:45 pm »
But are you high passing the MMGs?

 Oh, as fas connection? I'm coming from outputs 2 from the Warpspeed straight into the Legend crossover, and MMG's, so both the speakers and the sub are getting the full range signal, seperately.

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #6 on: 3 Sep 2012, 02:51 pm »

 One thing I forgot to mention, I absolutely love the natural roll off of the sealed sound. Where have you been all my life? No more bloated, artificial rumble at the bottom end. Just goes low, pure and simple, with the room.

medium jim

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #7 on: 3 Sep 2012, 03:07 pm »
Actually, you are only low passing.  You need a separate x/o to high pass the Maggie's.   JohnR pointed this out because it makes a world of difference.   

Jim

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #8 on: 3 Sep 2012, 03:22 pm »

 I plan on looking into bass management systems very soon since I'll have more of them, and I'd like to have more control over phase, crossover, etc.
 
 Not sure which yet, I haven't really looked.



Davey

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  • Posts: 1492
Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #9 on: 3 Sep 2012, 03:44 pm »
For those who might like to consider an alternative (at a bit more money) I would recommend this Parts-Express Dual 12" kit.  (The same, dual, force-cancelling advantages)

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-766

http://www.parts-express.com/pdf/302-835s.pdf

http://www.parts-express.com/pdf/300-766m.pdf

The Dayton Reference drivers are quite a bit higher quality (with cast frames and aluminum cones) than the cheaper drivers used in the Epik.  (Stamped steel frames and paper cone.)

The enclosures are much more robust with thicker MDF construction.  Notice the difference in weight between the Epik Legend and the PE kit.  (80 pounds versus 170 pounds respectively.)

The amplifier is much more powerful.

High-passing the main speakers is a key requirement in integrating the subwoofer in a high-quality audio system.  Neither of these systems do that since they target HT usage vice strictly audio.  Most folks would utilize their HT pre-processor to high-pass their main systems and feed its LFE output straight to the LFE input on subwoofers such as these.
However, in a dedicated audio system (that doesn't utilize a pre-pro), a simple high-pass can usually be configured to provide a symmetrical crossover to the woofer low-pass.  Existing acoustic roll-off slopes for the main speakers need to be understood in order to implement it correctly.  (Magnepan's have a different acoustic high-pass characteristic than conventional speakers.)

Cheers,

Dave.
 

medium jim

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #10 on: 3 Sep 2012, 03:51 pm »
Rclark:

Here's what I have:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Maggie-Mates-high-quailty-subwoofer-integration-modules-for-Magnepans-/160874647199?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item2574e04e9f

They do exactly what he says they do, no more, no less.   The results are impressive, especially if you are looking to get every drop out of your amps. 

Jim

Early B.

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #11 on: 3 Sep 2012, 03:58 pm »
For those who might like to consider an alternative (at a bit more money) I would recommend this Parts-Express Dual 12" kit.  (The same, dual, force-cancelling advantages)

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-766

http://www.parts-express.com/pdf/302-835s.pdf

http://www.parts-express.com/pdf/300-766m.pdf

The Dayton Reference drivers are quite a bit higher quality (with cast frames and aluminum cones) than the cheaper drivers used in the Epik.  (Stamped steel frames and paper cone.)

The enclosures are much more robust with thicker MDF construction.  Notice the difference in weight between the Epik Legend and the PE kit.  (80 pounds versus 170 pounds respectively.)

The amplifier is much more powerful.

High-passing the main speakers is a key requirement in integrating the subwoofer in a high-quality audio system.  Neither of these systems do that since they target HT usage vice strictly audio.  Most folks would utilize their HT pre-processor to high-pass their main systems and feed its LFE output straight to the LFE input on subwoofers such as these.
However, in a dedicated audio system (that doesn't utilize a pre-pro), a simple high-pass can usually be configured to provide a symmetrical crossover to the woofer low-pass.  Existing acoustic roll-off slopes for the main speakers need to be understood in order to implement it correctly.  (Magnepan's have a different acoustic high-pass characteristic than conventional speakers.)

Cheers,

Dave.

For basically the same price, would one of these PE kits sound better or just as good as a pair of the Epik Legends?

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #12 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:07 pm »
 I believe in my researches I did come across that sub and considered it as an option, but I remember as few comments about the drivers being only so so for music. There's nothing wrong with the drivers in the Legend, again, they sound fabulous, they just don't have a fancy spoke frame, etc, he put the money into the sonics to keep the price low.

 Also cabinet strength or thickness is moot, as the Legend is completely inert.

 Also, for $849 for one versus $900 for a pair of Legends, I think I would prefer the pair of subs.

 Either way, sure looks cool, probably fun to build.

 Thanks Jim, I'll look further into those, they sure are inexpensive. But I was thinking a box covered in dials and with multiple outputs.

usp1

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 620
Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #13 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:08 pm »
For those who might like to consider an alternative (at a bit more money) I would recommend this Parts-Express Dual 12" kit.  (The same, dual, force-cancelling advantages)

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-766

http://www.parts-express.com/pdf/302-835s.pdf

http://www.parts-express.com/pdf/300-766m.pdf

The Dayton Reference drivers are quite a bit higher quality (with cast frames and aluminum cones) than the cheaper drivers used in the Epik.  (Stamped steel frames and paper cone.)

The enclosures are much more robust with thicker MDF construction.  Notice the difference in weight between the Epik Legend and the PE kit.  (80 pounds versus 170 pounds respectively.)

The amplifier is much more powerful.

High-passing the main speakers is a key requirement in integrating the subwoofer in a high-quality audio system.  Neither of these systems do that since they target HT usage vice strictly audio.  Most folks would utilize their HT pre-processor to high-pass their main systems and feed its LFE output straight to the LFE input on subwoofers such as these.
However, in a dedicated audio system (that doesn't utilize a pre-pro), a simple high-pass can usually be configured to provide a symmetrical crossover to the woofer low-pass.  Existing acoustic roll-off slopes for the main speakers need to be understood in order to implement it correctly.  (Magnepan's have a different acoustic high-pass characteristic than conventional speakers.)

Cheers,

Dave.

That does look like a monster sub...but at twice the price of the Legend. Of course what makes it sturdy- the weight - also will make it a pain to move around trying to find the right placement.

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #14 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:10 pm »
 The Legend is inert as is without need of a larger stronger cabinet. I think Partsexpress used what they have, the Legend is designed to this enclosure spec.

 - these are all hand built/ cnc'd.

 They look cool, but at basically the same price as a pair, that's tough.

 In fact, for $849, I would just get an Empire.

medium jim

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #15 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:14 pm »
Rclark:

Fancy knobs and such look nice, sometimes simple is better...you might even find that some of the smear will be gone as well.  The guy makes them well and does it for a hobby, i.e., he really doesn't make any money on them.  I suppose you could open them up and go with high dollar caps, but I never felt the need. 

I have some duplicated signal as my Maggie Mates are set at 60hz and the low pass at 80. but this actually is good as it helps the integration.  I would opt for the same for your system, e.g., get the mates for the bigger maggies, unless you are low passing at 100hz or higher.

Jim

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #16 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:15 pm »
 So you think I can run multiple subs off my passive Warpspeed using just those and y splitters?

medium jim

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #17 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:20 pm »
So you think I can run multiple subs off my passive Warpspeed using just those and y splitters?

That would be the wrong way to go....wire your left channel into one sub and then to the speaker and the same with the right channel...

Jim

Rclark

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #18 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:23 pm »

 But then I'm getting stereo bass, I would prefer to have three or four of these all in mono.

medium jim

Re: EPIK LEGEND... an excellent sub for planars
« Reply #19 on: 3 Sep 2012, 04:28 pm »
But then I'm getting stereo bass, I would prefer to have three or four of these all in mono.

And you would also be getting Mono to the Maggies!  You wouldn't be getting Stereo bass per se, just what was recorded in the left and right channels which would give you better soundstaging and placement.  Understand the signal you feed to the subs in most cases is what passes through....actually, when you think about it, you will be feeding the left channel Mono and the right channel Mono and the net result will be Stereo. 

If you Feed the Subs both Channels it will become Mono....

Jim