Legacy Focus 20/20 Speakers AMP/Pre Amp

Hi, I am new to the forum and have been trying to find some information on the Legacy Focus 20/20 speakers.  I realize these are older speakers, but there is a pair locally where I live that are in very good condition and at a really decent price.  I have a large room that they will be going in, which is why I was drawn to these larger speakers.  I have also been looking at Legacy's newer speakers too, such as the Focus XD's or the Aeris on the forums, but they are typically only offering local pick up.  Any thoughts for or against the Focus 20/20's? 

I'm also looking for suggestions on amps and a preamp for these.  I am considering a McIntosh MC 452 or a pair of McIntosh 501 mono's for power.  Any thoughts on either of those for powering the 20/20's?

Last, any suggestions on a tube vs. solid state pre amp?  I wasn't sure if a solid state would be needed, or if I could go with a tube preamp (which I would prefer).  I also understand that Legacy has their Wavelet preamp with room correction that seems to be a requirement with their newer speakers, but wasn't sure if that would be beneficial with the Focus 20/20's.  As I mentioned, the room where these speakers will be going is a large, square room, but it also has a high "A Frame" type ceiling.  So that will likely play into the acoustics.     

Starting out, I will be running a MM turntable and a media/CD player.    

I am a novice when it comes to getting into specs of speakers and amps/preamp requirements, which is why I am reaching out on the forum.  




Really depends on what sound characteristics you’re looking for and are most important to you because the sound of electronics vary greatly.  Any info you could provide about your tastes/preferences would be most helpful in making good recommendations. 

Thank you Soix.  I suppose if I were to describe the sound characteristics that I'm looking for it would be more on the "warm" side with some detail in the highs but they don't need to be overly sharp.  Also looking for quality in the mid range.  I listen to all types of music, Rock, Jazz, Classical, Reggae, Metal, Electronic, Choir, etc. 

Not that these are comparable, but I have a set of lower end speakers in another room bi-amped to Marantz separates.  They are very clear however I've noticed that they lack in the mid range, and I tend to get fatigue after listening to them for an extended period because they seem so so sharp.  Might also be the room acoustics, or perhaps the way they are configured, so not totally sure.  

That said, I have heard other McIntosh amps/preamps at the stereo shops and I do like the way they sound, but they were also powering different speakers so might not be an apples to apples comparison.

Thank you for responding!


Here is a Stereophile review.

With speakers that old you should verify the surrounds on the woofers are in good shape or have been replaced.


Yes, your budget would be good. 

Do you have a system of some sort in place now. 

i definitely recommend a tubed preamp. The best you can afford. 

Mac equipment has a very distinct sound. Make sure you compare to alternatives before jumping in. It is not every one’s cup of tea.



Hi, thanks guys,  if I go with the Focus 20//20’s from the guy locally I want to try to stay under $10k all in for speakers amp and pre amp.  The speakers are $2200, and there are MC501’d available for $5k, which would leave around $3k for a pre amp.  But I’m open to other ideas too.

the 20/20’s are in good shape and surrounds are intact.  Thank you for that suggestion.  

 If I get over $10k, there is a guy selling newer 2022, active Legacy Aeris speakers and he is including the Legacy wavelet/preamp for just under $12k all in.  So if I get in that $ range, I will try to talk him into shipping the Aeris to CA. Unfortunately, he’s only offering local pick up.  But those speakers would be a much better option. 

I do have another system currently, but it’s in a different room and set up mainly for surround sound with Marantz Separates approximately 12-15 years old.  It’s fine, but would not be a good option for the other room that I’m trying to build out. 

thanks again,


Given what you’re looking for in sound with good power and something smaller I immediately thought hybrid integrated.  This Unison Research Unico 150 offers lots of power with a tubed preamp section so you’re done in one box and would seem to offer the sound characteristics you’re looking for.  Sound Approach offers free shipping and a 30-day return policy in case it doesn’t work out for some reason.

Here’s a review that gives you an idea of its sound characteristics…


Just an idea given what you’ve been saying, and best of luck in your search. 

I can attest to the Legacy's loving tubed amplification. Those 20/20 are 96 Db sensitive and can mate with tubed amps @ 20wpc  easy.  I have the new Focus XD's with the Wavelet. A nice  tubed integrated with them would be fantastic. An option would be a top of the line Prima Luna Integrated. All in you would be under $10K. And have some money for tube rolling and good speaker wires. Prima Luna EVO 400 is $5595 + $2200 = $7795! 

Well 1st you must decide on the speakers. If you choose to go the the 20/20s and are interested in tube amplification a suggest you contact Aric of Aric Audio. He has a great website and is very responsive via that or a phone call. 

I own one of Aric's  tube preamps and a tube amplifier. I switch the amp out with a Pass Labs XA25 SS amp. The tube pre serves both very well. 

With sensitive speakers be careful about the gain structure between the preamp and amp. 

I can attest to the Legacy's loving tubed amplification. Those 20/20 are 96 Db sensitive and can mate with tubed amps @ 20wpc  easy.

Apparently that’s not the case with the 20/20s as they drop below 2 Ohms in bass frequencies.  I can’t imagine too many tube amps doing well with that.  Here’s an excerpt from John Atkinson’s measurements section in his review…

“The Legacy's sensitivity was slightly lower than specified, but still a very high 94.5dB(B)/2.83V/m—this speaker will play very loudly even with a low-powered amplifier. However, its plot of impedance (fig.1) reveals that it needs to be used with an amplifier that can deliver high current into low impedances. Not only are there two minima in the bass of less than 2 ohms, and another of less than 3 ohms in the mid-treble, but there is an amplifier-crushing combination of 3.3 ohms magnitude and 60 degrees capacitive phase angle at 20Hz. Fortunately, it is rare in music to have high levels of energy this low in frequency. However, a good, beefy solid-state amplifier will probably work better than a tube design.”

@soix   I didn't dig that deep into that aspect, I am just going off of my personal experience with the Focus XD's. Prima Luna makes a Tube hybrid integrated that is well within his budget that may work better. Primaluna EVO 300 Hybrid will have the tub pre and SS amp combo. $7295 + Legacy 20/20 $2200 = $9495.

Thank you everyone for the info, I will look into all the additional suggestions noted above. 

fthompson251, I believe those XD's have internal amps, so perhaps you are powering the subs with those, and running tubes for the mids and highs?  The newer Focus are another option I've been contemplating, just haven't seen any on the used market.  Do you use the Legacy Wavelet, and if so, how do you like it?

Appreciate all the additional color from everyone.  



I now stand with @soix  regarding use of a SS amplifier I should have done more of my own research prior to answering. 

Aric's preamps mate well with either tube or SS amps. Can be had with variable output gain or fixed gain based on sensitivity of amplifier.

@dsrobert  Yes, I use the Wavelet II as an external crossover and for the Room correction, it does an amazing job for that. Yes, I use a VAC Renaissance 70/70 Signature amp on top. I am saving for an Aric Audio amp to replace it. My VAC amp is getting old so I want to keep it to swap from time to time, it is a wonderful amp. I also am saving for Arics Motherload XL pre amp too. I may get that first.

I have a pair of Legacy Focus speakers from near that era and they are wonderful and run very well with low power ( I use a 35wpc SS amp). Assuming they are voiced similar to the Focus I have, they will be very hard to beat, especially at that price.

They sound much better if you can get them up on some sort of stand or feet and off of the rails they come with. Even using spikes with the rails in not ideal. I found some fairly inexpensive stands with adjustable spikes that could screw right into the holes where the rails attach and now the bass is much better controlled and articulated.

If you get them, I would strongly urge you not to use them with a high powered amp, as you'll lose much of the nuance they are capable of delivering.

Thebrokenrecord, Very interesting to hear how you are powering them and the adjustments you made to get them off the floor, appreciate the feedback.  

Finally got the Focus 20/20’s.  My Brother in law lent me his Antham MCA 5 amp and pre amp combo.  The speakers sound incredible, haven’t even applied room correction yet.  Amazing because the room they are in is a large room with a high “a frame” ceiling.  Sounds like the music is coming from the entire front wall, can’t even tell there at two speakers with some of the source material.  I’m blown away at how good a $2,200 set of used towers can sound.


thanks to everyone for your suggestions!