Anybody listen to Ohm Walsh speaker w/digital amp?

Digital amps have such a "grip" on loudspeakers I couldn't help but wonder what Ohm Walsh speakers sound like with digital amps. I'm currently running my Ohm Walsh 200MkII's with a Denon AVR-3805 surround receiver. Anybody heard such a set-up with say a PS Audio, or Bel Canto, digital amp???
I would love to hear an omni like an Ohm Walsh with a TacT system.
Not yet. I think the combo of small size and high efficiency and current constitute a match made in heaven with the OHMs though.

My next amp someday will likely be a Class D, possibly mono-blocks. I figure the longer I wait, the better and more refined the Class Ds will get. Many get high praise from many already.

My only concern would be potential for RF noise with other components, especially my phono stage.
There is some interesting discussion of Class D amps in this thread:

They do, as you appear to realize, tend to have extremely high output current capability, and very low output impedance, which would account for the "grip" that you referred to.

BTW, if you'll allow me to make a minor point, it is a widespread misconception that the terms "Class D amp" and "digital amp" are synonymous. They are not, although even some manufacturers use the terms incorrectly. A digital amp would be one that has digital inputs, and dsp (digital signal processing) circuits to process those inputs.

-- Al
I powered my 100s with a Bel Canto integrated for a day. It worked very well, but the speakers were destined for a different room & system, including subwoofers and (eventually) tube amps. I suspect that this is the set up which I'll stick with for the forseeable future. The BelCanto with 100s full-range was great, but IMHO the tubes/subs arrangement just buries it.

Can somebody educate me briefly on what this "class A, class D," etc. terminology means?
Can somebody educate me briefly on what this "class A, class D," etc. terminology means?

This is a bit technical, but with a little patience I think you'll gain a better understanding than a brief oversimplified answer with no diagrams would convey:

-- Al

Are you saying you preferred the 100s with Bel Canto Class D to 100s with tube amp, but not to 100s + tube amp + sub?

That sounds reasonable to me. ANy findings though with 100s with Bel CAnto Class D versus other non tube/SS amps? Have you heard any ss amps that work better with the 100s alone than the Bel Canto Class D? If so, I'd appreciate if you could elaborate on what the differences are?

There are a lot of combinations and permutations here, so in brief.

1) 100s run full range w/ss amps

I tried the Bel Canto (switching amp) and the TAD monoblocs (traditional class AB). Both worked well. The auditions were too brief for any definitive conclusions, but the TADs are warmer amps that lend a "tube like" sense of musicality. The BC sounded more neutral. Preferences for one combo vs. the other would fall under "personal taste". (I've used Quads with extended bass to describe the sound of 100s with neutral amps like the BC. Add a just a smidge of Vandy-like warmth/sweetness to the mix for the TADs.) Again, take this with a grain of salt - listening was brief and, in this case, in 2 different rooms.

With subs,

I never used the BC amp. The TADs worked very well in this configuration for a month, buefore i subbed in my Prima Luna monos with (eventually) KT66s. These add more "texture" and a greater sense of soundstage - especially between performers. This effect is evident on many - not all - recordings. It is dramatic on some. There are tracks on Lindsey Buckingham's "Under The Skin" on which this combo "lights up" the front of the room in a way I've never before experienced in my home. (I have heard MBLs manage this trick at a dealer's showroom.)

Other output tubes have been through the rotation and caused more problems than benefits in a subwoofer set-up. I will eventually work my ARC VT-130SE into the system for more perspective, but that's for another day. I'm just enjoying the PL w/KT66s too much to play around (for the moment).

MBL lovers (Pedrillo, this means you!) take note!

Marty, thanks for sharing your findings.

"There are tracks on Lindsey Buckingham's "Under The Skin" on which this combo "lights up" the front of the room in a way I've never before experienced in my home. (I have heard MBLs manage this trick at a dealer's showroom.)"

MBL lovers (Pedrillo, this means you!) take note!
BTW, to clarify on SS with subs. I actively cross at 80hz (like the Ohm subs) and level match the subs to the mains with the room analyzer and PEq in the SMS sub controller. This has the effect of "neutralizing" the warm character of the TAD amps. I'm not quite sure why, but the inherent warmth of the TADs seemed audible (though not dramatic, especially compared to full range tube amps) when the 100s are paired up full range, and -to my ear- virtually undetectable when the bass is crossed out in the fashion described above. I'm sure the "warmth" of the TADs is a frequency effect well above 80hz, but I guess the level matching and/or subwoofer output effectively masks the phenomenon.


You have some nice stuff to experiment with.

How many different amps + stuff do you own?

I agree with the "Quads with more bass" analogy for the newer OHM Walshes. "Quads with more meat on the bones for less" is specifically what I was shooting for when I decided to go with the newer OHMs.
I don't want to admit this because I'm sure that it qualifies as some sort of medical disorder:


Cary 300B monos
Cary 805s
PL 7s
BC integrated
Patos Classic Integrated
PanCor Dyna Reissue pre&power


Sonus Faber Cremonas (and Minuettos)
Verity P/E
Merlin VSM SE(subsequently upgraded)
Maggie MMGs
Zingali 3 horns
Silverline Sonatinas and Preludes


Ohm 100s


Oracle/Graham/Transiguration or Lyra - (2 wands)
Acoustic Solid/Rega (modded)/Clearaudio
Cary 303/300
QSonix 100 w/Benchmark DAC 1

Part of this is due to consolidation of 5 homes I've lived in over the last decade, but mostly it's just a diseased mind. Eventually, I'll seek treatment.


PS - As dramatic sounding as the MBL speakers are (and they are the most dramatic sounding speakers I've ever heard), the Ohms are far more neutral. I don't think I could live with MBLs as my only speaker - the colorations would drive me nuts. Maybe I'll just have to add a pair one day ;-)

Take consolation in the fact that many of us on this sight share in your mindset and I personally would love to be able to play with all those nice toys!

In defense of your sanity though, better to try lots of different things at reasonable price points in order to achieve the "ultimate sound" rather than put all your eggs in a single basket, so to me there is a method to your madness.


Reading your equipment inventory, I hearby initiate a new, Audiogon acronym: MHO, which stands for Mouth Hanging Open!

Martykl, I'm interested in how the Ohms sounded with the "Pathos Classic One" integrated since this is a tube/SS combo. My wife's "Spirit Guide" (she's psychic) had directed my attention to this little amp several years ago. It was the only amp from that company that "Spirit" says has the design/value/performance ratio that Spirit finds excellent.
The Pathos is one hot looking little number (that is as integrated amps go).
Mapman. I understand this amp is on it's 3rd revision.
I used the Pathos very briefly (< 1 hour) with the 100s running full range. It worked without complaint. I have no further basis for describing the pairing.

The Pathos sits in my living room with a Pathos Digit (matching small chassis cd player) and Sonus Faber Cremonas. The all Italian system sounds very nice but, in truth, is mostly furniture - and stylish furniture at that! The very musical performance is just a cherry on top.

If you folks really want to be jealous - my (beautiful) wife loves my listening room and thinks that multiple mono tube amps covering the floor make a great design statement. I must have been a saint in a previous life.

Hi everyone .. been lurking here awhile with not much to contribute until now. I've been slowly moving away from home theater and back to 2 channel. I've lived with the MicroWalsh Talls for 5 years now (obviously love them) and just replaced my older Marantz SR-8000 receiver with a PS Audio Trio A-100 amp and P-200 preamp.

After much research and some email exhange with John S. from Ohm I took a chance on this gear. John did not recommend this or any other manufacturer specifically. What I asked of him in particular was his impressions of ICE amps with the MWTs. He was very encouraging and liked the match alot.

After listening to the new amp/pre for a few weeks now, I can honestly say for me it has been exactly the change I was hoping for. For the record, please understand that I'm not well versed in audiophile-speak and have not been exposed to alot of high end gear like many of you. With that in mind, the PS Audio sound seems quite neutral to me compared to the Marantz sound. The soundstage didn't seem to get deeper or wider, but taller (this was stunning actually). The bass .. cleaner, tighter, louder .. in fact everything I'd hoped for .. more authority and punch at the lower extremes. Effortless is another word that comes to mind.

Needless to say I'm a very happy camper right now. The amp/pre stays. The MWTs .. I just can't give them up.

I've found only larger and much more expensive speakers can deliver all the goods as effortlessly as the OHMs when fed lots of good clean power and current.

Cheers + enjoy!
Jmelvin, glad you joined us! So this little PS Audio Amp bests the Marantz ah? Your experience is what I've been hearing about digital amps.

By the way, Rick Cullen, a former PS Audio designer, does mods on your little Trio at his company called,"Cullen Circuits". These mods range from $249-599. I've included a link below. Just copy and past the below link to your browser and push "enter".
In regards to clean power & current .. after reading this during my search, I knew I wanted an amp able to double its power into 4ohms. I did look at Bel Canto, Nuforce, & a slew of others. Point being .. my Marantz receiver actually rates slightly higher in WPC than the Trio .. yet the Trio's ability to deliver more current seems a likely reason for achieving that effortless sound I'm hearing .. yes?!

Condocondor .. thanks for the warm welcome. Cullen Circuits seems to be pretty well known and respected. I found them during my search (thanks for the link anyway!) and in fact my preamp shipped directly from them. By the way, I was very tempted to pull the trigger for the modded units, but really wanted to hear them in their "virgin" state. This way if I decide to mod them later I will have a reference. Cost was a factor as well.

About 5 years ago I bought a heavily modded Jolida 301 tubed hybrid from Bill Baker called the RAM 301 (mods designed by Dan Wright) at a nice discount. Liked it very much by the way, but, I had never heard the Jolida in it's original state .. thus I'm clueless if this was really the great upgrade as reported. Live and learn.
"yet the Trio's ability to deliver more current seems a likely reason for achieving that effortless sound I'm hearing .. yes?!"

Absolutely yes.
Came across this old thread.

I am now running OHm 100 S3s and 5 S3s with a pair of Bel Canto ref1000 mkii Class D IcePower monoblocks and can offer up some actual observations on this topic now.

CondoCondor nailed it. "grip" is the right term to describe the main difference between the new Class D versus the old Musical Fidelity A3CR, other than the jump to 500 versus 120 watts/channel into 8 OHM, which helps out nicely at louder volumes with the 5s in particular.

The Bels do seem to deliver a vice like grip in controlling the drivers, especially the big 5s, which is just what the doctor ordered. Bass comes across as leaner at first but in fact is delivering the goods in a fast and most rock solid manner, like an MMA fighter in peak condition!

Using the sound from from excellently produced live concerts I have attended recently in smaller venues and some very high end systems I have heard as a reference, this is a big step in that direction. They really do not sound like speakers hardly at all any more at this point.

I have to say that the MF A3CR amp was an incredible piece as well with many similar attributes, but it did not quite have the vice like control of the Walsh drivers that the Class Ds do, but then again the MF amp cost me less than 1/5 what the Ref 1000 mkiis did used.

One thing unique to the ref1000 mkiis which probably contributes to this somewhat is the 100K I believe input impedance for unbalanced input (200K for balanced I believe) which helpss it mate well with a tube pre-amp. That was the thing that helped convince me to go with this particular model. That is a small bump up from the 72K ohm input impedance of the MF A3CR prior, which was also very good compared to most SS amps. The Wyred amps have 62K or so input impedance as well, which is good. Stock Icepower modules have only 10K input impedance I believe, so that is something to consider for those considering using Icepower with tube pre-amps.
Interesting, Mapman. My Walsh 2000s are run off of an Odyssey Stratos HT3 amp, which has a 10K input impedance, and I run that from a tubed pre, the Conrad-Johnson PV11. Should I be worried that I am not getting the best out of my Ohms because of the amp/preamp combo I am running?

Specs are only guidelines and alone do not determine level of performance. The only way to determine that is to listen and compare.

In my case, if after listening carefully for a while to a particular configuration I identify an area that I feel could improve based on listening to reference systems, live events, or whatever I can identify as a meaningful reference for comparison, then specs are a useful research tool to help weed through options and identify choices that based on specs might perform better in my system specifically compared to other highly regarded pieces.

Even then, the only way to know for sure is to experiment.

In the case of my amp upgrade, I moved from a 360w/ch Carver to a 120w/ch Musical Fidelity and knew eventually I wanted to get back to a high power amp without losing the benefits the MF brought to the table.

The power rating of the amp and its importance in being able to drive the OHMs optimally was the main factor that drove me to look at an upgrade eventually. The power differential was cut and dry. The MF amp sounded better than the Carver in every way, but there was less power now available for fairly power hungry speakers.

Based on power and current alone, there were many choices to pick from, so I looked for other factors on paper that might make a difference. Its still always something of a risk changing though until you actually try something different and hear the results, which may be better or worse or more commonly better in some ways but not as good in others.

I have heard some claim that they can always hear an improvement in sound quality with an amp with higher input impedance compared to lower. Technically this makes sense. Practically, how much difference is there and is it enough to matter to most? I don't know. Also other factors contribute to sound so it is risky to base a choice perhaps on any one specification alone.

Fun stuff (and potentially EXPENSIVE)! Seldom ever cut and dry however.
I am these days. An extremely good match I would say.
I heard this system last weekend featuring a custom horn design at the capital Audiofest in Rockville, MD

It set one of the highest benchmarks for overall dynamics and clarity I have heard to date, at least with the vintage classical and jazz material sourced from vinyl that I heard.

It was SOTA all around and cost a small fortune (6 figures easily I would guess).

My preliminary assessment is my OHM Walsh/Class D amp combo is at least in the same league as this setup. Kind of like the Yankees and the Orioles are as well. Well, I think I rig would fair better against this setup that the Orioles do against the Yankees lately on any given day, but you get the drift. I'd have to hear the two side by side, so at least its close.

To give an idea of teh differences, the Audio Note tube amp used in this system was said to put out perhaps 20 watts and cost over $60000.

My Bel Canto Ref100m2 lists for 1/10th of that (still not cheap by any stretch) and puts out 500w/ch or 20X the power, which is needed for a 87db or so efficient design like the OHM 5s, whereas the Audio Note amp did not have to break a sweat it seemed driving those 109db efficient horns.
Makes me think of the old Victrolas....

Mapman, did you visit either the Salk Sound or Selah rooms? Impressions?
Selah, yes. I did not stay long and really had no impression to relate.

I recall seeing Salk also but same deal, sorry. I only had a few hours and a lot of ground to cover.

The systems that caught my ear that I spent time listening to were the one pictured above, the Cathedfral speakers, the room demoing Magico V3 and comparable YG aCOUSTICS, AND United Audio with their mbl and RTR setup (which was good but not set up as well as their showroom), and the little Jolida integrated running the Nola monitors, which was the best sound value of the show that I could see.

The Polk audio room was the only one that did not sound good to me in some way. They were going for the overpowering bass deal which turned me right off.
I'll be getting an Ohm Walsh 2000 pair in late December, to be powered by the new Red Dragon MkII 500 monoblocks (Class D amplifiers based on the B&O ICEpower ASX2 module). Will spend Jan & Feb burning in, then will post a review.

Signal Chain:
- high resolution digital files from USB drive
- Logitech Squeezebox (optical out)
- Benchmark DAC1 (XLR out)
- Red Dragon 500W monoblocks
- Ohm Walsh 2000's

Each monoblock will be wired to the speaker with 18 inches of Belden 10-gauge 5T00UP speaker cable, bare wire on each end. Canare L-4E6S "star quad" balanced XLR cables will go from DAC to monoblocks.

- 2,268 cubic feet (21 x 13.5 x 8)
- wood floor
- speakers in the corners of the 13 foot wall
- 8x8 opening on the end opposite the speakers

Stay tuned for a review in Feb 2012 (I hope)!
Please keep us posted. I have the 2000s as well, fed by an A/B SS Odyssey Audio HT3, filtered, 1st order, below 80Hz, where they cross over to a pair of Vandy 2Wq subs. Very curious to hear how the 2000s do with those Red Dragons.
I was very close to getting the Odyssey Stratos monos. In fact I considered getting them in addition to the Red Dragons, since both companies have generous return policies after in-home trial periods.
The Pathos sits in my living room with a Pathos Digit (matching small chassis cd player) and Sonus Faber Cremonas. The all Italian system sounds very nice but, in truth, is mostly furniture - and stylish furniture at that! The very musical performance is just a cherry on top.


Do (or did) you prefer this set-up more as furniture or something to listen to? If you could do that all over again, would you?
"Anybody listen to Ohm Walsh speaker w/digital amp?"

Yes, for over two years now + still lovin it....

Match made in heaven.....
Mapman, which digital amp are your using? Were you using?
Hi Condocondor

With my Ohm Walsh 2s I was able to get them cranking loud and clear with just a Class D Audio SDS-224 amplifier. My room was a long rectangular one with 8ft ceilings.

I use Bel Canto Ref1000m monoblocks, 500 w/ch into 8 ohms.

I have two pair of OHM Walsh speakers in use:

- smaller 100 Series 3 in OHM Walsh 2 cabinets in smaller room

-larger 5 series 3 in OHM F cabinets in larger room

Amps drive both pair to the max loud and clear with no sign of clipping or strain in either. With the smaller OHMS, the 500w/ch might be a bit of overkill, but they do not object to the extra power at all.

Sorry this reply is 2 years late, but I must have missed this thread on its last go round.

I'm of two minds on that question. The living room looks great and the gear makes a fashion statement that complements it. When used, the system sounds very, very good. However, music in that room is 99% generated by my wife or daughter playing piano, so the system gets very little use. The rational answer is "No, I wouldn't do it again". Too much money for the level of use. But, as noted above, I'm far from rational when it comes to this hobby.


BTW, the further irony is that none of my gear gets a ton of use these days. About 5 years ago, I got serious about playing guitar and practice time has eaten way into my listening time. Despite the inventory, most of my listening is now done outside the house, either in the car or MOG thru Bluetooth speakers on the road. C'est la vie.