Ohm Walsh Microtall or Vandersteen 1C

So having gone to my local audio store yesterday and auditioning the Vandersteen 1C and the PSB Image T6, the PSB model is out. I was leaning heavily towards going back next week to buy the 1C, but I started down a path of reading about the Microtalls, and I think I have to call them tomorrow and order a pair.

I'll be running with just a Peachtree Nova, using a Macbook Pro (optical out), Ps3/Xbox 360, and turntable as sources. They'll be used to play music as well as for 2 channel HT.

I really enjoyed the 1C sound, which had warmth and clarity. The PSBs felt a little too neutral and cold to me. I think while I imagine that I want a real analytic, detailed sound to let me hear every little note and drum hit, in reality I want a speaker that lets me get lost in the music and just "live" while I have music on. I can use headphones for the analytic listening :)

Will the Microtalls work for watching video, in the sense that dialogue will still sound as if it's coming from the center? I know I could always add the center channel and a sub later to help out with HT, but that's not in the budget now.

What will I lose with the Microtalls vs. the Vandersteens? I was also wondering if I wouldn't be better off waiting until I could afford the 2ce Sig II (or finding some new) and going with the Ohm for now while I'm at a $1000 budget.

Finally, do I pay return shipping on the Ohms if I don't like them? What is that cost? Thanks!
It is probably best to go with what you have auditioned and know you like. Thus go with the entry Vandersteens for now and you can always upgrade later. My own tastes are quite different but that only proves the point that to each his own. I wouldn't go blindly with the Walsh speaker, but if you hear it, and know you like it better, that, of course, is a different story.
If the MWT is balanced like my Ohm 100s, they will be notably leaner thru the mid to upper bass than the Vandy. While real bass extension may be pretty similar, the Vandy will likely display a little more "oomph" on kick drum, etc. while the Ohm may sound a bit "tighter".

The other big delta is the omni presentation of the Ohm. Some (including me) love it, others do not.

Good Luck.

I'd suggest talking to John Strohbeen at Ohm and seeing if he thinks the Nova has enough juice to drive the MWT's. They do like a good deal of current to sing. Ditto what Martykl said about the omni presentation: some dig it, some don't. But given that Ohm gives you a 90 day home audition, you're pretty safe to try them out. As for bass... I think from my time with the MWTs that they are extraordinarily convincing in the bass region for such a small floor stander.
I believe you do pay return shipping if you return the ohms.

I use my 100s for video as well as audio and voices sound good.
The ohm omni presentation and the wide range walsh driver are the unique things with the ohms. If what you read about them has appeal they might be worth a try. I am less familiar with the vandy sound but they are good too.
There is a pair of MWTs listed on AudioAsylum's classified section now for $550. No affiliation with seller, just thought I'd mention it.
I have owned the Vandy 1Cs (twice) and feel they are fantastic for the money.
I have spent considerable time listening to both the Ohm Walsh's and the Vandersteen 1C's. Although the Ohms are really nice sounding speakers,.... to my ears, in my room, with my system, the Vandersteen 1C's give me more of everything I want in a speaker. I think the Vandy 1C's are one of the best values out there... I own them and I love them. Good Luck, and Happy Listening.
I had a pair of the Micro Talls, and loved them, but came into extra cash, so decided to upgrade to the 1000's, Shipping the Micros back cost around $95.00 I'd have a pair of the 5000's if I could afford them. I love what the Ohms do; My speaker search has ended. If I upgrade again, It'll be with Ohms
"I'd have a pair of the 5000's if I could afford them."

ME too. Maybe next time I have a good excuse to upgrade.

My OHM 5 series 3 ended up costing me a fraction of list price due to taking advantage of several incentives that OHM offered at the time concurrently:

1) refurbed (OHM F) cabinets instead of new.

2) "Summer sale" pricing that John seems to run usually about this time of year prior to his 1 month summer shutdown in July usually I recall. HAven't heard about such this year so far though. Maybe business is really good.

3) trade-in of two pair of used OHM speakers to reach the maximum 40% discount for two pair that was offered. I traded in my old Walsh 2s + bought a pair of cheap C3s with refurbishable cabinets for cheap on ebay and had those shipped by the seller directly to OHM as part of the trade-in.
I went from Vandersteen 1Cs to Ohm Walsh 2000s. I also eventually bought a used pair of MWTs for the surround channels. Short answer, IMO: The MWTs have it all over the Vandy 1Cs. More accurate timbre, much better when pushed hard, smoother in the brightness range (~4-8kHz), and much more low level detail. The Vandy's did tend to project sound toward the listening seat a little more than the Ohms, but if the recording uses phase trickery to make sound seem to come from the listening area, the Ohms will do that. You get what's on the recording, with nothing extra or omitted. As for the center image thing, no problem. The Ohms have a solid center image but not too narrow, so that mono material still has some dimensionality. The Vandys became frustrating at moderately loud levels, when they tended to congeal and become pinched and unpleasant, and induced fatigue. They were also not kind to poor recordings. The Ohms let you know when a recording is good or bad, but they are all quite listenable, and listening fatigue is non-existent. I didn't have the space for the 2Ce Signature IIs, so I looked for another brand, and found Ohm. The Ohm audition period is 120 days, and you do pay for shipping, both ways. I kept mine and couldn't be happier. I have since added the Ohm center, and the consistancy of sonics throughout the various Walsh models is among the best I've heard from any brand of speaker.
I do not know Vandys well, but I read a 1c review that indicated some breakup noticeable at higher volumes with more challenging kinds of music. OHM 100s were also referred to as well indicating a similar situation. SOme other third speaker type as well.

I was thinking that the author might have been confusing an amplifier clipping issue with the capability of the speakers. I have heard this with my 100s where they deliver whatever I throw at them with my 500 w/ch amps but my 180 w/ch amps will give up way before the OHMs do.

Can't speak for Vandys or others in this regard but I will say that I think the OHM Walsh design is exceptional in its ability to go loud without stress, compression or breakup. Part of this is due to the high crossover frequency which puts most of the burden on the wave bending Walsh driver and asks very little of the soft dome tweeter. It also provides outstanding coherency through the midrange which is a unique aspect of the OHMs I would say. Vandy 1Cs cross over much lower I believe.
Well, I went ahead and ordered the Micro Talls today! Very excited to try them out (and hopefully like them enough to keep them). When I mentioned using them with a Peachtree Nova, John immediately said, yes, many of our customers pair the Micro Tall with that piece of kit.

I'm also heading over to a local dealers place tonight to hear some Rega speakers (RS3 and RS5) and some KEFs, Quads and Wharfedales just to have the peace of mind that I auditioned several brands of speaker before making a final decision.
Quick followup: What justified the price hike from $1000 to $1400 of the SE version that I just ordered?
I believe drivers, sizes and pricing changed with the release of the latest 1000 series including microwalsh. I think size of mw stayed the same. Se edition may have some extra cosmetics. Not sure.....
So I just got to hear some KEFs, Regas and Wharfedales in the same price range as the MWTs. The standout to me was the Wharfedale 10.7s, even above the pricer KEFs and Regas. The midrange was what really got me, the bass wasnt too tight or too bloated, and the highs werent fatiguing or cold (as I found the Regas to be). They werent as fast as the Regas, but they sounded more laid back and sweet to me than the more forward and clear Regas. The KEFs didn't really factor for me.

If I end up not liking the MWTs, it'll be the Wharfedales for sure.
How much were the Wharfdales?

I would say the OHMs have similar characteristics as you describe liking with the Wharfdales but the presentation and interaction with room acoustics will be much different I suspect. Should be interesting. Keep us posted.
They were $1300, so similar to the MWT. They have vinyl wraps, so hopefully all of that cost is going into the sound.
SHould be interesting. Two radically different designs to chose from! THe Wharfdales appear to pack a lot of hardware into that package for that price!
Hope you like your micro talls. They take a while to break in, but it's worth it. If you can get them placed properly in the room, you'll get a sonic reward beyond belief. I put mine 10 inches from the wall behind them, and slowly started moving them away from the side walls. At 33 inches from the side walls, they engaged the room, giving me a stunning 3 dimensional soundstage, that fills the room at any volume. It's worth taking time to fine tune the placement to your room. Once you hear it, you'll say "that's it" and just sit back and be imersed in a soundstage that will be hard to beat. Good Luck Joe
Mapman mentioned a SE ohm. were you referring to the MWT or the 1000s? Is this a model above the standart mwt, 1000, 2000 set up? Thanks
I ordered the MWT SE, the lowest tier they make right now, aside from the Shorts.
Not to hijack the thread, but regarding the same two speaker options, which speakers would work best for the following circumstances:

Music: Prog rock/metal (85%), female vocals/jazz (10%), other (5%)

Room dimensions: apartment 2nd floor - 12'x13.5' room

Setup: Windows 7 on Dell PC, JRmedia jukebox, FLAC/Hi-Res, Schiit Bifrost, (amp will most likely be an Emotiva XPA-3 due to lots of headroom, future expansion into HT)

I can only speak for the OHMs but I think they are hard to beat for prog/rock/metal, which constitutes a major portion of my listening as well, especially with the right amp. That kind of music is perhaps the biggest reason I am where I am today.

They will hold their own or better against most any competitor I have heard with all the rest. A lot comes down in the end to personal preferences.
"Ohm Walsh + Porcupine Tree = Sonic Heaven"


If you have OHM Walshes and not the case, keep working at it until it happens.

PT's FOABP was one of hardest of my favorite CDs to really get done to the max. Finally after the right amp, tweaks, etc., sonic heaven.

Very dark but insightful and great sounding concept album is FOABP.
I went with the Microtalls, btw! I'm moving this Sunday and will finally get them all setup with all of my gear. I haven't had any time to listen to them for more than 20 minutes until now. They can begin breaking in for real!
The thing with prog rock is that there is often a lot going on in the recording to hear at any particular time, like large ensemble classical or big band. A large deep soundstage enables one too discern more details, like a big screen 3-d hd tv or movie screen in that things are less cluttered. Of course all the other stuff matters as well. The ohms can do it all very well.
Mapman and Bondmanp,

I appreciate your insight on the prog rock/metal genres and the MWTs. Can either of you possibly expand on particular experiences with a few tracks? I'm curious how the genre really portrays itself with the MWTs (in possibly some more exact terms :)).

I only have experience hearing Vandersteen 1Cs and Magnepan 1.7s with Opeth/PT/Dream Theater. The Vandersteens were nice, but sounded a little anemic at times. The 1.7s the same (even less bass performance than the 1C), although the Akerfeldt vocal effect he does about 2 minutes in on the track Blackwater Park was mindblowing.

Both speakers felt as though I lost the details in the attempt to reach moderate-loud (not loud-loud) volumes. How do the MWTs fare in that department?


I had similar issues with older Magnepan's from the 80's that were my mains for many years alongside a pair of older OHMS.

The newer OHMs I have now replaced both.

The older OHMs did not have as refined a presentation as most more modern speakers.

The Maggies were fine with a variety of music at low to moderate volume, but became compressed and congested at higher volumes especially with prog rock and similar pop/rock genres.

The modern OHMs handle whatever you throw at them with ease at any volume, especially with a decent to good source and the right amplification.

One caveat is I hve never heard MWTs but the consensus is that all modern OHMs have a similar sound the main difference being bass levels obtainable in various sized rooms. Larger OHMs tend to do that better in larger rooms though I have not heard many complaints about MWT bass levels in general. In some cases, like more lively rooms, less can often be more in terms of overall performance.
I have a used pair of MWTs for surrounds. Before instaslling them, I hooked them up in place of my 2000s briefly. I must say I was surprised by how close the MWTs sounded to the 2000s. A little less bass extension and slam, but otherwise, really close. And remember, the MWT that I have is one generation older than my 2000s. On PT's Darkest Eyes track, the Vandys would get really congested at the chorus, when the guitars kicked in, obscuring other details in the music. The Ohms allowed the track to breath, giving plenty of dynamic punch, but never losing the other musicians in the mix. Balanced with grace under pressure would be a good descriptor.
"Grace Under Pressure"

That might most simply describe the thing I like best about the OHMs. Nothing seems to phase them ie they are seemingly NEVER the bottleneck, however they will easily reveal shortcomings upstream, in recordings etc.
I agree on the MWT thing, I had a long run where my MWT's were in as my main L/R, and even after having the 3/3000's, I never felt short-changed overall. Sure the bass was not as deep and didn't have quite the slam or dynamics to it, but the little micros did a fabulous job. Even pushing them hard, it is difficult to get them to sound terrible. These are highly recommended, and just downright fun to listen to. Tim
Great to see another Ohm thread and that the old gang is still here.

I've had the MWT's for just over 3 years now, and am just as enthusiastic about them as the day I unboxed them. I did get a decent Emotiva sub to go with them, and I am lacking nothing sonically except for sub- 30Hz material.

And they do seem made for Porcupine Tree, and by extension the new King Crimson DVD Audio releases. My go-to demo is using an old release of In The Court of the Crimson King and then comparing it to the new remaster. Gets 'em every time!