I’ve never sat down and done any serious listening to omnidirectional speakers but I’ve always been fascinated by them. I’ve heard a few at audio shows, like the MBL’s, and German Physiks, but never this American made speaker, which is sold factory-direct, and comes with a 120 trial period, which gives one plenty of time to properly break them in, and experiment with placement. Interesting design.
I never have heard them, but like you, I have always been fascinated by them. Many designers seem to believe controlled dispersion is the way to go and have well thought out arguments as to why, but I’ve always enjoyed the sound of speakers with wider dispersion patterns better. Steve Guttenburg did a short Audiophiliac video about them today with the promise of a full review to come.
Which I posted above.
I heard them a few times in private homes way back when. They had a fascinating sound and drew me into the music in a unique way.
Then in the 'nineties Steve Deckert of Decware began making omnidirectional speakers and I bough a pair of the first model, RL-1 and then had them upgraded to the second model, the RL-2. I loved those speakers, they filled an untreated room in a magic way, letting you really “see into” the music, and the depth of the filed of sound was so large, things were happening in the front yard behind my front wall. They featured a tubular speaker tower with an omni-directional speaker at the apex and a ribbon tweeter above, and a passive radiator at the lower extreme with a rudimentary plinth.
He then perfected that design with the ERR, which I bought a pair of, and gave a good friend of mine the RL-2 (he’s still using them, ten years later). He also introduced the HR-1 which solved the few problems I had with the ERR–tighter, lower, fuller bass, a more specific imaging with a very “alive” midrange presence. This due to adding a front-firing midrange driver and a passive woofer in the lower plinth while still having an omni-directional driver. Fantastic speakers! I have two pairs of HR-1s and they allow me to have some very similar effects to a treated room with room treatment (which is verboten in my household). I really do like the ERR, especially for classical music, but they’ve sat unused a long time. In the meantime Decware has replaced them with the ERRx which are reportedly a considerably better speaker, closer in sound and character to the HR-1.
So I haven’t heard modern Ohm speakers or any in decades, but they inspired me to now have speakers I adore.
I plan on listening to a pair of Ohms speakers next weekend at the RMAF. Also thanks for the info on the Decware omnidirectional speakers.
What amp are you using to drive your HR-1’s?
In my main system I’m using a pair of Decware SE84UFO3 Monoblocks equipped with the 25th Anniversary mods. A rollicking and rowdy 3 watts per channel. Works quite well, the finest amp I’ve ever heard. In my second (audio visual) system I’m using the Decware Taboo Mk IV to drive HR-1s, also equipped with the 25th Anniversary Mods. It’s a real beast at 5 watts per channel. An excellent amp, a bit more forgiving and warm than the Monoblocks.
I purchased a pair of Ohm Walsh Tall 2000 but wound up returning them. I did the research, read many reviews and forum posts in advance. I even send Ohm photo and diagram of my listening room. I thought they would be a good fit for my mostly untreated room. Much to my surprise and disappointment, they did not best my previous monitors (Jade 3s) and sub (HSU) setup. I do have a somewhat odd room, hence contacting Ohm before purchasing. I spent two months tweaking placement and trying different cables. I really tried to like them. Biggest factor for me was the top end was almost shrill, and they did not image as well as the Jade 3s. My observations we confirmed by a few others as well. The overall presentation was just not engaging. My kit is all PSA, maybe just a synergy thing.
Ohm was very responsive with communications. What really got me was they much later suggested placement position that totally would not work. But that is why I sent them photo and diagram BEFORE placing the order! So I was out cost of shipping them back. From what I can see I am in the minority.
Have since purchased Spendor A7s and pair of REL S/3s and am well pleased.
I at one time owned a pair of Walsh 5000s (‘Tall’). The largest loudspeaker in the Ohm Walsh lineup. I couldn’t, after a great deal of effort, get them properly integrated in my listening environment. The result was a tonal balance that was never right or even close to being right. The frustrating part of that experience is I could alter the balance through room placement, but it was always wrong. I favor neutrality, my system is built on that premise, and 5000s didn’t work out.
In my opinion, having tried the 5000s with two different amplifiers and sets of speaker cables, the issue is not amplifier or cable synergy. It is whether the Controlled Directivity approach is going to gel in your listening room.
Walsh does back it’s loudspeakers with a 120 day in-home trial, so you have time to experiment. Just be aware, if my attempt at making the 5000s integrate in my environment is any indication, that the Walsh’s will either work out right away or won’t because of the twitchy nature of the dispersion of the system. Don’t try to force yourself to like them if they aren’t panning out.
I bought a pair of refurbished Ohm Walsh 4s. I have not heard many good systems or speakers to compare them to, but they certainly fill my untreated room with sound. It is everywhere. I don’t know if I have heard proper imaging, because it’s not going to happen in my house and I don’t hang with an audiophile crowd. I have stereo rel subs at a very low crossover and volume, and they actually tamed an amazing amount of bass from the Ohm’s, or added definition.
My room is about 15’ x 45’ with one long wall nearly all windows and the other opening onto a hallway, other rooms, and a kitchen. Because of furniture and where my system sits, the speakers need to sit less than 2 feet from the front and side walls. I use a b&k RX2 tt, Soundsmith smmc 1 cartridge, musical surroundings nova Phonomena, and B&K pre and power amps. They beat out by a mile the only other speakers I had, b&o RL 140s. (Though they were refoamed and recapped, i’m not sure how impressive that comparison is here).
Vocals and percussion are sometimes startling as if someone has come into the room. My son bought an old parliament record that sound so good on the speakers I’ve been buying old funk albums. But Gillian Welch an Aimee Mann sound just as good. The speakers love anything by Lucinda Williams.
Oh, and everything is now running through a second hand P5, that stepped it all up a notch. I am into dynamics more than anything, and the Ohms do it for me.
I have a pair of SSC 4900s. I was driving them with a NUC running ROCK through a Matrix via I2S to a DSD Sr to a pair of M700s. They worked very well. I got them because the room they were in was set up for family gatherings. They were excellent for off-axis listening and room filling sound. I have since gone a different direction with D&D 8cs, which are excellent. I did enjoy my Ohms though.
I owned a pair of Ohms. Long time ago and I don’t remember the model but I bought them in the days of “Tech HiFi”, where the salesman assured me “these are what I have at home”.
Late 20’s-early 30’s Ron loved those speakers. I would love to hear the new line.
I have the Jade 3s and was wondering how the Spendors compare. You thoughts?
Good question Yann. The Spendors have a more refined, cohesive sound. More open and airy. Hard to find the right adjectives, these speakers just sang to me. I had these and the D9s for home audition, and preferred the A7s. I also sprang for the extra $120 for grille covers. I was concerned going from 3 way to 2 way, but not an issue. I also complimented them with a pair of REL S/3s, so that would help any set of speakers shine. (RELs were an endorsement from Paul, Jim Smith and others.)
I moved and have space for larger speakers, hence my search. I could have lived with the Jade 3s though. And having the home audition on the Ohms made me appreciate them even more. I paid $1,000 for the Jade 3s new and had them for three years. Zero regrets. And zero regrets with Spendors and RELs now.
I owned the Ohm L back in the day. It was my first real speaker. Sounded great to my teenage ears, but IIRC, the woofer surrounds dried out and cracked after a time.
Those are the ones!! Yes, I had those! They sounded great and the surrounds did dry out and crack.
Auditioned the first Ohms in the 1970s…yes that far back. They sounded great at the time but the cone bottomed out in loud passages driven by a Phase Linear 400. Haven’t heard and of the new products and would hope they fixed the dynamic range limitations.