All photos by: The Audiophile Weekend Warrior

"Nonexistent noise and distortion; tube-like midrange purity; full tonal balance with stellar bass; effortless power delivery; top to bottom refinement. Has Class D finally “made it” sonically? My time so far with the ICEPower-based Legacy i·V2 (USD $4,785) has been a pretty convincing yes."

"The midrange is smooth and balanced, with a purity that’s a step above my aural memory of the Pass and Bryston. As with the treble, it has a sense of warmth and silkiness not for what it adds to the signal, but for what it doesn’t. It’s so exceptionally free of any audible distortion that even the lovely Valvet sounded a tiny bit grainy and coarse by comparison. Given that I lauded the Valvet for its midrange purity relative to the Bryston 4B3, which in turn I also liked for its midrange quality, that’s saying something."

"The ICEedge controller chip at the heart of the Legacy amp’s 1200AS modules had been under development for 7 years and represents the latest and greatest iteration of ICEpower’s proprietary technology. It can scale in power from 50 to as many as 7,000 watts, and unlike some of those earlier Class D amps I tried, it has an array of sophisticated control and protection features to ensure smooth, bulletproof operation. In many months with the amp I’ve experienced zero clicks, thumps, signs of oscillation or other hiccups."

"(Note that this is the higher-performance mono 1200AS module, not the less expensive 1200AS2 stereo module that’s much more common.)"

"Mr. Dudleston also mentioned grounding of the modules as an area of special care, saying they were able to achieve a few dB’s of additional noise performance. At this level of power and performance, the little things matter. There’s zero flex anywhere and while I have no idea how sensitive the modules are to vibration, knocking on the chassis gives a satisfyingly dull thud - much superior to anything you’d get on eBay or from lower-priced ICEPower resellers."

"The i·V2 was more than resolving enough to reveal the Gryphon’s substantial advantage in musical resolution and extension at the frequency extremes over the Pass Labs."

"i·V2 will deliver the vast majority of its musical power thereafter into the speakers and not the heatsinks, and temperature rose very little even during some heavy listening sessions."

"Legacy’s more enviable characteristics: super low distortion; dead-quiet silence; terrific bass response; seemingly endless power on tap; smooth tonality with no discernible coloration; a surprisingly silky treble and full mid-bass."

"i·V2 easily surpassed the Gryphon in weight and punch, making the Gryphon sound slightly anemic…"

  • "The i·V2 was also more neutral and controlled than the Pass while having even more punch."

    "Given that many love the bass performance of Pass Labs and the Gryphon is considered world-class in that regard, the Legacy has to be considered superb, with both the power and refinement to satisfy music lovers across a wide spectrum of genres and tastes."

"What really stands out about the i·V2 is how it can combine all of the above qualities with over 600 watts of continuous power, yielding a balanced presentation that’s utterly composed regardless of volume level or material. The way it scales its refinement beyond ear-splitting levels makes most every traditional amp seem shouty, edgy or strained by comparison. While the Bryston 4B3 sounded better the louder I played it, it wasn’t as smooth and detailed; the Pass XA30.5 got a bit lumpy and loose at the limit; the Valvet gets a little edgy and coarse at moderately high levels; and even the mighty Gryphon Essence can get subtly brighter as you ask more power of it. The Legacy is an effortlessly smooth operator, and I certainly didn’t have a speaker on hand that could faze it in any way."

"The Legacy i·V2’s exceptional performance forced me to check my notions of fidelity. In terms of measured performance, it’s among the best I’ve experienced (along with the Bryston 4B Cubed), and my ears registered its sound as correspondingly pure and distortion-free."

"I recently attended a lovely performance by The Cleveland Orchestra in their summer home, Blossom Music Festival. (Hurray for the return of live concerts!) When I returned home that evening, the Legacy was hooked up in the system. I put on a live recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra - not at all equivalent in venue or performance to what I had just heard, but bear with me - and it struck me that the tonality of the i·V2 was actually quite evocative of the real thing. Live orchestral performances have a ton of energy, and yet they sound so smooth and sweet compared to typical reproduced sound. The i·V2 captured that silkiness to a greater degree than I’ve heard in my system, but was lacking some of the edge and vitality. Switching to the Gryphon gave me more of the excitement of the live event, but tonally it wasn’t quite as spot on."

"The very fact that I’m having to finely parse these matters of fidelity and taste is a testament to the overall excellence and refinement of the i·V2. To accomplish that that with 610 watts on tap for under $5k is a significant milestone for Class D technology, and a remarkable feat of engineering."

"I must mention the obvious ecological benefits of Class D over Class A - we are drawing literally hundreds fewer watts, we don’t need to keep it running or warm it up for extended periods to sound good and we are generating far less waste heat. The electric bill and thus cost of ownership will also be appreciably less."

"The fact that I strained my ears comparing the i·V2 to a $24k Class A reference that is far and away the best amplifier I have ever heard in my system is all the proof I needed."

"For under $5k, the Legacy i·V2 delivers a balance of refinement and power that is unmatched by any conventional amplifier I’m aware of near its price point, and competitive in absolute terms with the better amplifiers under $10k and beyond. It’s a cut above what I heard from the Bryston 4B Cubed."

"I strongly endorse an audition of this amplifier without prejudice. It’s a remarkable achievement in amplification - highly recommended!"

Learn more about the award winning Legacy i·V2, available in 1-8 channel configurations.

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