Shorter Walsh cabinets mean less low end extension. For surround speakers, that should not be an issue assuming bass is handled elsewhere (sub, front speakers).
I think the decision should be made based on utility rather than sound. Wall mounts will save floor space if that is of value and you like the aesthetics. Talls can function standalone in a dedicated music system, but that is not your particular application so it may not matter.
Walsh speakers deliver best/most balanced sound at or somewhat above the level of the driver/can. I would not think you would want to mount Walshes above your listening level in any application.
Also, I think the Walshes are or can be configured inside the can for true omni sound when used for surrounds. Not sure this is beneficial when mounted against a wall. Maybe these are configured differently to emit less sound facing the wall? Not sure. John would be the one to answer these questions.
My main concern is that the highs will be muted if there isn't a clear path to the listener. John mentioned that floor versions worked well even though they couldn't be seen from the couch since the sound was everywhere.
While this is desirable, it is important for me to hear the detailed highs that I'm worried will be muffled
Which of the three version will provide the best and most detailed presentation taking what has been said into account?
Find out where the super tweeters will be mounted. Usually, for 2 channel audio speakers, they are facing forward and inward 45 degrees. Surrounds may have the super tweeter mounted firing up (more omnidirectional).
If mounted forward/inward, then obstacles between them and your ears will attenuate extreme high frequencies to some extent, though most of the frequencies are radiated omni from the Walsh driver so this may not even be noticeable. If mounted full omni (as I suspect they are) then obstacles should not be much of an issue in that all frequencies are radiated omni as John says for the most part.
I'll call John on Monday to discuss further.
Mapman, do you have a surround system, if so, what rear speakers are you using and what is your experience?
Are you using a center speaker?
Any one else have any comments or opinions?
No I do not do surround and have never heard an OHM surround setup, though I do think they are a natural for surround sound applications.
When discussing surround with John about a month ago, he said that he prefers to use the MWT in an omni design, which is with the tweeters mounted facing the ceiling, which gives a more even dispersion/less localization of sound versus the more direct sound by the normal Walsh tweeter. I did not discuss the wall mount speakers at the time as I was more interested in the MWT versions. Let us know what John says about those. I haven't implemented surround at this point, still undecided on this. Tim
I have a home-theater set up that uses the full-size Ohm 100S3's for LCR, a half-size sealed omni version of the 100S3's for left and right surrounds, and micro-Walsh shorts (not omni's) for the rears.
As far as your questions, ...
WAF: I do not have the wall-mounted versions, but my wife thinks that the micro-Walsh's are cute. Also, hearsay says that WAF is highest for wall-mounted speakers.
Wall v. Short v. Tall: I am assuming that you are going to play movies, so that you will need a subwoofer (even if you went entirely with 2000's). You will have more flexibility on the crossover point as you move from wall to short to tall. The other consideration has to do with the fact that your couch is against the wall. This means that you are relying entirely on your surrounds for rear envelopment. The short/talls might give you more flexibility in placement as you try to get the right sound. For example, I think that omni's disappear better when they are out from the wall a bit.
Muffling: This is more important for music. In home theater, as I understand it, surrounds and rears are used mainly for short-duration localized sound effects and diffuse ambience. My understanding is that film-makers do not want those speakers to produce sounds that will induce listeners to turn their heads away from the screen in response.
Height: For movies, most recommend that your set up support the reasoning given above in muffling. The majority suggest that tweeter level be at least one foot above ear level, but I have seen people say to put speakers on the floor and fire upwards, to fire them into corners, etc. I have my surrounds and rears up on furniture so that they are about 1-2 feet above.
Center Channel: I am of the opinion that a dedicated center channel speaker is preferable to phantom imaging. If you are going to use phantom imaging, you can't beat Ohms because of their wide sweet spot. Still, I have found that phantom imaging tends to make it seem as if someone's mouth is several feet wide. I also think that dialogue is more intelligible when given its own speaker.
Finally, remember that Ohms are not the "loudest" speakers out there. This means that you should not expect to be able to play at reference levels (105 dB non-LFE peaks) even with gobs of power; if you try, you'll just burn up the super-tweeters. I find that -10 dB's is about all I can hope to get for a listening position about 10-11 feet from the mains.
All, I appreciate the responses.
I've been looking into replacing my Maggie's (music 30%, HT 70%) for some time and have really struggled with my options. The Maggie's bring true high definition sound to the table, true Audio Nirvana as long as you sit in the Sweet Spot (which unfortunately is minuscule) and can handle the limited dynamics. Shift to one side of the couch or stand up and the difference is tremendous. Definitely not a speaker to be shared with friends and guests.
So, after months of considering my options, I settled on either the Newform Research R645V3's or the Ohm 2000's (room 16x18). The 645's appear to have great dynamics and also offer the ribbon/planar sound, however, I was concerned with coherency with the 1Khz crossover between the woofers and the ribbons, as well as the overall height difference between the ribbon and the woofers. The good news was that I could still use the rear surrounds, but this wasn't a deal maker or breaker.
So last Friday I finally decided to talk to John at Ohm. I placed an order based on his recommendation for the 2000 and the wall mount walshes for surrounds. As a note, John likened the 2000 SPL to the 12th row in a symphony and the 3000 to 18th row at a rock concert. Interesting eh!
Friday night arrives and I'm beginning to get cold feet: I think the 2000's will be great at the front, but I am concerned about the surrounds and very concerned with my options if I need a center. I'm inclined to agree with Simon's comments about intelligibility, I phantomed the Maggie's and there is definitely an improvement in clarity using the center. In addition, the surround sound from the Maggie's is enveloping because the panels swing out from the wall and direct the sound towards the listener, as well as the sound being very wide due to the nature of the panels. Will the Ohm's give me the same level of detail and clarity and sound staging at the rear as I have been used to, particularly if the tweeter is firing at the ceiling and the speaker is below the couch or up on the wall? Maybe the Tall's would be the best option, although John didn't mention it
I know that I can return the speakers if they don't work out, but I would rather not have to do this from mine or Ohm's perspective, so any thoughts on my struggles would be welcome. Perhaps some of you have suffered the same pain and can share your experiences.
I need to feel comfortable with what I'm doing and perhaps even cancel or change my order on Monday if necessary
Thanks in advance,
FWIW, my OHMs replaced a pair of Maggies that I owned for a long time.
I'd go with Johns recommendations to start. Direct exposure is not as critical with omnis as with Maggies, which are highly directional from my experience. You can always change later during the audition period if needed.
FWIW, my OHMs remain quite detailed and coherent even when listening way off access from the supertweeters. Delivering the goods as surrounds should not be much of a challenge for them based on what I have heard with surround sound systems in general.
REgarding SPLS, I've found with teh right amplification that the Walshes go about as loud and clear as anyone might want and still have their ears survive.
"I've been looking into replacing my Maggie's (music 30%, HT 70%) for some time and have really struggled with my options. The Maggie's bring true high definition sound to the table, true Audio Nirvana as long as you sit in the Sweet Spot (which unfortunately is minuscule) and can handle the limited dynamics. Shift to one side of the couch or stand up and the difference is tremendous. Definitely not a speaker to be shared with friends and guests."
There are two things in that quotation that catch my eye.
IMO, if you're HT 70%, then you might as well consider yourself to be HT 100%. There's a great deal of controversy about whether you can have a system that can do both audiophile music and batcave HT, but I'm inclined to say you should aim your purchases at one and hope for the best about the other.
Second is the sweet-spot issue. To me, the phrase "wide sweet spot" refers to avoiding the soundstage-collapse-to-the-nearest-speaker phenomenon. This is important for HT if you have more than one person watching. This was one of the prime considerations in my purchases. An old trick in this regard is to severely toe in the speakers. SPL differential (especially with regard to the highest octave) is a prime pyscho-acoustical device used by the brain to indicate location, and toeing more or less maintains the SPL balance as one moves left or right because the more distant speaker becomes more on axis. Of course, this creates other issues related to off-axis frequency response. Now the Ohms are already built toed in at 45 degrees, so I figured that they had attempted to address all this. And it does work fairly well. With two Ohms you can move quite a bit between the speakers; the soundstage will shift but it doesn't collapse. You might ask Newform for a a psycho-acoustical explanation of their wide-sweet-spot description. Having said all this, another advantage of the center-channel speaker is that it helps prevent collapse, especially with dialogue.
"The 645's appear to have great dynamics and also offer the ribbon/planar sound, however, I was concerned with coherency with the 1Khz crossover between the woofers and the ribbons."
I also was concerned about the crossover issue, especially as most speakers cross right in the prime part of the vocal range. And, of course, Ohms have that high pass filter to the super tweeter at about 8KHz.
Mapman says several important things.
On the SPL issue, I only point out a fringe trend I am beginning to see on the forums about producing HT systems that can play at reference levels. Many people pursuing that seem to be going towards high-efficiency profesional-audio stuff. I agree with Mapman that such an endeavor may not be consistent with keeping your hearing, and I find that -10dB (which corresponds to 95 dB non-LFE peaks at the listening position) is as loud as I would want to go. IMO, the main argument in favor of reference level is that it is hard to get kick-in-the-chest bass without really high SPLs and merely raising the gain on your subwoofer will destroy the spectral balance of the entire presentation.
Finally, Mapman advises starting with what John suggested to you. This is my advice as well. Ohm's customer service is incredible, and John is interested in making sure that every customer gets what they want. For example, He made me a special center-channel version of the full-size 100S3s that fired straight ahead, and he sold it to me at one half the normal price of a pair. He allowed me a full credit when, after a year, I switched my surrounds from micro-Walsh short omnis to 100S3 short omnis. Other stories like this are well-known. To be fair to John in such matters, I would start with his recommendations.
This is excellent reading.
I will call John tomorrow to discuss the surround options further and clarify the situation with wall, short and tall, and the angle of the tweeter.
Simon, what are the dimensions of your center speaker and how well does it blend with the fronts, is it above or below your TV and how far from the wall?
Also, what was was the reason for the upgrade to the 100S3 and did it make a lot of difference?
Did your shorts have the Tweeter at 45 degrees or were they facing straight up?
Can you elaborate on their performance as a surround speaker?
How did you have them positioned relative to your ears/seating position?
"Simon, what are the dimensions of your center speaker and how well does it blend with the fronts, is it above or below your TV and how far from the wall?"
My center speaker is a full-size version of the 100S3, but built to fire straight out as opposed to 45 degrees. It blends perfectly. The LCR are behind an acoustically transparent screen; I use a front projector. With the LCR, there is about a foot and a half between the wall and the back of the cabinet. I would move them further into the room if there was space to do it. They are between 10 and 11 feet from the main listening position (LP).
"Did your shorts have the Tweeter at 45 degrees or were they facing straight up?
Can you elaborate on their performance as a surround speaker?
How did you have them positioned relative to your ears/seating position?"
Also, what was was the reason for the upgrade to the 100S3 and did it make a lot of difference?"
My micro-Walsh short surrounds were the omni version with the tweeter pointing toward the ceiling. They were positioned 90 degrees from the center--directly to the side of the LP. There was about a foot from the side wall to the back of the cabinet. Again, if I had more width to the room, I would move them further out. The tweeter was about one to two feet above my ear, about five feet from the LP.
For surrounds, I have tried dipoles, bipoles, and monopoles (firing toward the LP, up in the air, toward the corners, etc.). But in terms of striking a balance between localization when called for and diffusion when called for, the omni Ohms are the best I have found. As an aside, I prefer more localization for the rears, so I had bipoles, now replaced with the micro-Walsh (non-omni) shorts.
Many people recommend identical speakers all around. This is probably most important for music, where mismatches become more evident. Still, I find that film-mixers are putting more and more into the surrounds to the point that some passages have the same SPL in the surrounds as in the LCR (I think that the rears in Dolby PLIIx are still at least 3 dB down, which is quite a power difference). There were passages in movies where I felt that the micros were having trouble keeping up with the LCR at my volume levels. So I wanted something that I would be sure would keep up with the LCR. The 100S3 driver is bigger and can move more air. Having said that, I have to say that five feet from my ears, the shorts disappeared a bit better than the larger 100S3 surrounds.