10 responses Add your response
In the early to mid 70's, I lusted after a pair of the Ohm F speakers. If I remember it right Harry Pearson from TAS didn't like them and said as much. I heard them at I think was Tech Hi Fi powered by a Phase Linear 700B amp. It sounded totally real to me and it was one of the few pieces of gear that I wish I owned. I believe the price was way out of my range as I was working part time while attending college. It was a sound I never forgot.
I was at the NY audio show this weekend and I have to agree with your assessment of the bad rooms . The larger rectangle rooms sounded much better . The Electrocompaniet / DSPeaker room was the best sounding room in my opinion . As for Ohm room it was a better one than last years. Yes it sounded good for what it was . Being a Ohm 2000 owner all I can say set up right in a good room with higher end electronics they can embarrass speakers costing much more . Yes these can play with the big boys great speakers
Yes, the Electrocompaniet / DSPeaker room was one of the better ones. I thought the Alta speakers / Krell room was in its own league, but it should be for the cost of the equipment. My "room I could come home to" (if I could afford it) award went to Audio Note, which just sounded like a guy sitting in a room playing guitar - right size, right timbre, just...right. But if you’re talking price to quality of sound ratio, the Ohm to me was the clear winner in the show, IMO. It did not embarrass itself against systems costing much more, and in fact bettered many.
I liked the Ohm room both this year and last year but for some reason - maybe the room set up, the Ohms don’t give me that sense of intimacy (and immediacy) that the "standard" sealed box speakers do. I’d love to have a pair in my (very) large family room so I can fill the room with great sound but for intimate listening in a moderate size room, I much prefer front firing box or single driver box/horn designs. Just a matter of preference.
Yup, it's definitely a matter of preference, kalali. I owned a pair of Ohms a while back but sold them when I moved from a house to an apartment (I found the Ohms to need some volume to properly express the music, which I could no longer give them). I now own Spatial open baffles which are wonderful even at low volumes, but purposefully designed to direct sound to a relatively narrow sweet spot. Very different philosophy, and as a result a very different experience. The Spatials are also great for apartment listening because they don't transfer energy to the floor nearly as much as most box designs or even omnis (I can barely hear them from the floor below me).
The original point of the post, though, still stands: The Ohms certainly held their own among much pricier systems, with no esoteric associated gear. Other systems costing much more sounded different, but not necessarily better.
I was there on Sunday. I concure that the Ohms were better shown than last year. I am a Walsh 2000 owner (since 2009), so I could compare the sound in the room at the Park Lane to my own room's sound (where I use better electronics and a pair of Vandersteen 2Wq subs). Except for the amount of low bass, the sound was quite similar to my own system. FYI, the severe tow-in was John Strohbeen's answer to what he felt was a very bright room.
A lot of serious, quiet listeners were in the Ohm room both times I stopped by. That was not the case in many other rooms.
I also agree that the Electrocompaniet (which I heard without the DSPeaker) was the best sound of the show, but at less than 1/10th the price, the Ohm system acquitted itself very well.
I did like the Cambridge Audio room, but the CA reps there seemed very focused on impressing everyone with how cutting-edge their musical tastes are, and with not raising the volume above background levels.
OTOH, many rooms pushed the dBs way, way too high, to the point of ruining the sound by overloading the room.
I also enjoyed the semi-DIY speakers from Pure Audio in the VPI room. They were very neutral, and sounded very different with each LP played. But a DIY speaker that you can configure yourself, and that does not require speaker-building expertise to assemble, is rather clever, IMHO.
Yes, Bondmanp, the Cambridge room seemed to be enamored with pop/rock recordings that had very little to offer in the way of tonal or dynamic variety...hard to judge a system that way. Acoustics overall just seemed to be working against vendors in most rooms, but as you point out they weren't helping themselves much by turning it up to 11. The Pure Audios were interesting, and certainly dynamic, but harsher than what I'm used to with my Spatials, which are a quarter of the price and sound much more natural (to my ears, anyway). What I did take away from that room was an amazing movie score by Henry Mancini for a John Wayne film called Hatari (which I had never heard of). There's one particular track on it that's called "The Sounds of Hatari" that should be on everyone's audition lists for evaluating systems...it throws just about every sound you can think of at you. Amazing to hear.
I was there yesterday...and recall the Hatari soundtrack as well. Typically I am kinda bored by the same demo tracks everywhere, but it's true that they do show off the equipment more than modern pop/rock tracks.
My favorite rooms were actually the Adirondack Luxman room and the Accuphase/Soulution room. But I was there to mainly check out equipment and the sounds in both of those rooms impressed the hell out of me. I love the Luxman tube amp, as well as the entry level Accuphase integrated. I liked the Mark Speaker room as well, though I didn't stay long as I wasn't speaker hunting. The Margules tube amp was very impressive as well, and it's pretty affordable. I mainly went to check out Metrum gear, they were supposed to be in the Pure room, but I guess things fell through, and I didn't see any Metrum dacs.