New Speakers Coming My Way. Hot Dog


For the last 9 years, my living room stereo has been a "little" system, designed to provide a pleasant, non-obtrusive source of music for house ambience or for listening to small scale music, while the "big rig" in the family room has the 7.1ch setup and about 1400 watts total.

Getting the turntable last year has changed the way I listen to music. I now play all music on the turntable now, which is connected to the little living room system. I don't have the shelf space to plug the TT into the "big rig" downstairs, and if I did, I think feedback would probably be a problem.

But as I spin more vinyl, I keep wanting more--more scale, more detail, more volume, more dynamics--and I love big, bombastic orchestral works like Holst's "The Planets" and jazz, both small group and big band. And my wife loves opera and large scale oratorios like Handel's "Messiah" and Mendelsohn's "Elijah." And we both love hearing it on vinyl instead of CD or even SACD.

The current speakers in the "little living room system" are 1st generation Mirage Omnisat satellites plus the matching LF-150 powered sub. This little setup sounds great on combo jazz, acoustic folk, vocal solos and ensembles, etc., but they struggle a bit for clarity and dynamics when the number of instruments and voices goes up to big band or symphonic orchestra and chorus. And my wife's the one who loves opera and oratorios.

So when I pointed out to my wife that if I went from the little football-shaped satellite speakers to small-footprint (8.7"x12.25") floorstanders, they'd take the same overall space but I would no longer need the powered subwoofer that blocks the fireplace, she said, "Go for it."

So I did. They should be here in a week, but they also require 100 hours of break-in and are configured for bi-wiring or bi-amping, so it'll be awhile before I break 'em in, attain the goods for bi-wiring or bi-amping (haven't decided which yet) and have these fully sorted out.

But oh, when I do ...
johnnyb53
Okay, after reading your post twice I'm sure you didn't mention which speakers are on the way.
You are fortunate to have a wife who enjoys listening along with you.
JohnnyB53,

I'm with Timrhu - you just can't leave hangin' like that ... it's just not cricket mate :)!

Now change your name to JohnnyBGood and fess up, what speaks did you go for ????????

Cheers,
Garry
Don't throw away your speakers too far...especially the sub.
Oops! No more late night postings for me!

I was so excited I forgot to mention that I'm getting a pair of Mirage OMD-15 floorstanders in gloss piano black. All the other wood in the living room is either light (oak, light-stained cherry, beech) or black (Mason & Hamlin piano).

It appears that Mirage's high end street cred is back. A year ago Chris Martens gave their $7500/pr flagship OMD-28s a rave review (and not just at its price range) at Abso!ute Sound, and one of the reviewers (Martens?) now uses a pair of OMD-28s as his reference speakers. The OMD-15s I'm getting are the next model down.

Granted, unlike the OMD-28, the OMD-15 doesn't have 8" carbon fiber woofers or kevlar midrange, but like the OMD-28, the OMD-15 DOES have a phase plug in the midrange, uses Mirage's patented ribbed elliptical cone surrounds for more linearity and longer excursions, and has a downfiring port into a sort of slot-loaded bass.

Mirage's Omniguide waveguide approach to dispersion solves all sorts of speaker dispersion problems. Having lived for 3 years with some 1st-gen Omnisats, the original model with this design, I can confirm that this design energizes the entire room in a most natural sounding way--linear if you will. Many instruments have different dispersion patterns, but on average, instruments are sort of omnidirectional, or hemispherical, throwing maybe 60% of their sound forward. The Omniguide's dispersion pattern is very similar to the average dispersion pattern of voices and instruments that make up live music. The result is a sense of "realness" in the way that Omniguide-based speakers energize a room very much like live music.

In fact, that's what prompted my wife and me to buy the previous set--we got married in our living room a few months before, and had live music. When I tried the Omnisats in the living room a couple months later (with Brit-made Wharfedale Diamond 7.3 floorstanders for comparison), the Omnisats threw a soundstage astonishingly similar to how the live performers had sounded there.
Let us know how you like your new speakers...especially after the excitement of new, and the breakin process nears completion.
I'm interested in how your Mirages sound too. I'm a long time user of Omnisats in my home theater set-up and I think they are amazingly natural sounding as well. For HT, I can't imagine needing to spend more money. I've always been curious as to how the OMD-15 and 28 sounds.
07-08-08: Eujin
I'm interested in how your Mirages sound too. I'm a long time user of Omnisats in my home theater set-up and I think they are amazingly natural sounding as well. For HT, I can't imagine needing to spend more money. I've always been curious as to how the OMD-15 and 28 sounds.
I'm not generally one to be dogmatic, but the Omniguide RULES! I think it's telling that after decades producing and refining bipolar speakers, Mirage ditched that design and adopted the Omniguide design from what was essentially a "lifestyle design" speaker--compact, yet room-filling--to be featured on their flagship models.

"Natural sound" is exactly what my wife and I heard in the Omnisats so soon after we'd had life musicians in the living room--a presentation that had the timbres, the tonal balance, and the dispersion to energize the room like live musicians.

This purchase is a little scary for me; it's the most I've ever spent on speakers, and I'm getting them mail order w/o hearing them. But I've lived with the Omnisats for over 3 years, auditioned the Omnisat v2 in a store a couple years back, and can't help thinking that this 3rd generation compact tower will be a serious improvement.

Today I was buying speaker cable to be able to bi-wire or bi-amp the OMD-15s when they arrive, and finally had a chance to audition the Gallo floorstanders. I figured they'd do a lot of what the Mirages do. Well, in a way, yes. They threw an enormous soundstage and had excellent location, but to my ears the treble was rough and edgy, and (this may have been a speaker setup and location issue) had a hollow snarky sound in a narrow frequency band in the upper bass.

But the Mirages spoil me; these $3200 Gallos driven by pretty nice electronics via Kimber Monocle wire could not come close to the smooth, natural timbres I enjoy on my $500 satellites every day. It'll certainly be interesting to learn what Mirage can do with a $2500 version, and I'll let you all know when I find out.
Johnnyb, funny you should mention it but the speakers I currently use are the Gallo 3.1. They're very capable of creating a very open, natural sound. They do, however, take a very long time to break in. The treble should not be dark or edgy if the speaker is broken in and paired with the right electronics. They can be very sensitive to location setup and especially with amplification. At any rate, being a fan of both the Gallo and Omnisat sound, I'm definitely interested in hearing more from you when your OMD-15s are in place.
07-09-08: Eujin
Johnnyb, funny you should mention it but the speakers I currently use are the Gallo 3.1. They're very capable of creating a very open, natural sound. They do, however, take a very long time to break in. The treble should not be dark or edgy if the speaker is broken in and paired with the right electronics. They can be very sensitive to location setup and especially with amplification.
I think the Gallo Ref 3.1's I heard had a setup problem. Have you ever noticed that some hi-fi shops have a "house sound"--where there's a certain tonality and imaging that every system setup has to some degree?

At the shop I was at, their setups tend to sound hot and tizzy. They have one guy there who seems to be a detail and HF freak. One time he was playing some fusion on a system, largely to entertain himself between customers--and it was so tipped up it would have sent customers screaming from the room. At one time they carried Mirage during the Omnipolar period and even managed to make them sound quite hot, something I've never done (or tried to) at home, and I have 9 Mirage speakers NOT including subs.

I noticed, for example, that they had the woofers facing outward, and they were equidistant to the side walls. This is just asking for standing waves. Second, maybe the speakers were too close to the walls behind, or the walls were too hard or needed some absorption panels. The listening room certainly wasn't as big as where I'm going to install the OMD-15s. Omnis or very wide dispersion tweeters (like the 330-deg. Gallo tweet) have to be shelved down because the room reflections will bring the treble level back up again. If the Gallos aren't made that way, then they should have been farther out from the walls, in a much larger space, and/or had absorption panels behind and maybe to the sides.

The OMD-15s are on schedule to arrive tomorrow. But Mirage recommends 100 hours of break-in. If things sound encouraging right out of the box, I'll post initial reactions, but otherwise I'll be hanging tight for at least a week of FM and CD-on-repeat break-in before I try any critical listening with my favorite and beloved LPs.