Pick 2... Ohm WMT,ML Source,Zu Druid,Gallo Ref 3.1

I've got my short list down to four speakers, and I need help narrowing these down to two. My plan is to buy the two of them used and sell the set I do not like. I may get one or both of the others down the road, but I only want to start with two.

I've got a Dussun v6i 150w amp with a NOS DAC fed by FLAC files on my Mac Mini in an 11x11 room. Yes an 11x11 room. That's going to be part of the problem. I listen to all sorts of music, but not too much really hard rock or rap.

I'm coming from a pair of Totem Arros and Silverline Minuets before those. I liked the Arros. I found them to be a little too 'boxy' for me, and they never really disappeared. I always had to be in just the right spot to get the big soundstage and even then I could hear the 'box'. Pretty good detail, but they got a little bright when I was in the sweet spot. overall a very good speaker, but they just didn't do it for me.

So this led me to my current quest. The reason I have narrowed my search down to these four speakers is as follows. Not every speaker in the four fill every item I find important.

1) My Small Room - don't want to do monitors, and I'm limited in space and placement.
2) The Box Sound - I hate it. I have craved a room filling, airy sound ever since I heard my first set of Martin Logan Monoliths 20 years ago.
3) Crossovers - the lack of them getting in the way of the music in these speakers.
4) Time-coherence - I still dream of my Dunlavy SC-1s from many years ago.
5) Price - they are all below $2000 used; which is the upper extreme of my budget.

I know the speakers are all unique. The Zu is probably my last choice, but the dynamics, lack of a rear port and wide cabinet may help in my small room (I don't know).

The Martin Logan's concern me with the super narrow listen area and the high crossover frequency.

The Gallos concern me that it might overwhelm the room with bass, and I don't really have room for sound treatment beyond a quilt on the front wall. Everything else about these sound amazing (lack of box, lack of crossover above 150, ESL like tweeter, psudo-omini tweeter and presentation).

The Ohm Concerns me that it will lack detail and have a sloppy presentation. I have heard such great things on the board about these though I'm very interested.

Any help I can get considering my room situation would be great.

Words cannot accurately express how much the phrase "lack detail and have a sloppy presentation" do not apply to the Ohm's. There is nothing sloppy about them, and the detail exceeds what I expected.

That being stated, what may take some people time to get used to is how they image. If one is accustomed to sitting in a narrow sweet-spot and thinks that off-axis response should diminish while moving across the room, then the Ohm's will sound strange. For me though, this is has not been an issue.

The other speakers I have only heard briefly or not heard at all, so I have no valid opinion.

Happy listening!

I haven't heard the Ohm or the Druid.

I'm not sure which Martin Logan model you are referring to.

But generally speaking Martin Logan has magic and Gallo has Majesty. Both of these speakers will eliminate that boxy sound that you don't like.

The Martin Logan's sweet spot will be narrower, but if you mainly listen seated then this shouldn't be a problem. I have always loved Martin Logan, but they are not great Rock Speakers, but for Vocals and Acoustics they are fabulous. You do need to put them at least a few feet away from the back wall though.

Gallo is more dynamic, if you're worried about the bass output on the Gallo 3.1, then you should consider their Reference 3 SA Subwoofer Amp which would allow you to control the bass output better. This could be a future upgrade for you. If you want to fill the room with music, then Gallo is better for that.

I know you want to buy 2 and compare them, but I would buy one first and then if you're not sure, then I would by the other for comparison.

Good Luck!
I will up you one on the room, mine is 9.5 x 9.5 and I use the Gallos. I prefer near-field listening in general regardless of room size as it eliminates some room interaction. Our rooms are a challenge bass wise. The sub amp on the Gallo may help you, I do not have one though so I cannot comment.
11 X 11 is tough. The Ohms are specifically designed for nearfield listening and are designed to load the room evenly which helps with bass issues - but that room! I own 100s, but the MWT would be the right Ohm for your application. FWIW, based on my experience with the 100, I wouldn't worry about the issues you identified re: Ohm. I'd just worry about the bottom end.

In your shoes, I might think about a single driver system to get most of the specific benefits you've identified. Fitz sells a full line at well under $1K. If you need extended bass, add a sub with EQ. If you choose a main speaker with little output below 100ish hz, you can integrate a sub without a x-over in the main path. A Velodyne SMS-1 would be helpful for that task.

Good Luck,

the ohms are without equal on this list....if not completely on board, look at klipsch cornwalls as an alternative that very different, but completely satisfying. both are 'old school'if different schools, and both play well beyond their price. virtual bargains and cult status as well.
Ohm MWT. I also hate the boxy sound, but my favorite thing about the Ohms is the crossover-less midrange.
The OHMs and Gallos are the two that will probably sound most similar. IMHO, the OHMs are superior. They are more like Quad Electrostats but with more dynamics and bass. The Gallos have the dynamics and bass but do not compare to Quads (I've heard both together in A/B comparison and the Gallos sounded very fine...until I heard the Quads then no comparison). If you are considering ML also, then between Gallo and OHm I think I would definitely go OHM, Should cost less as well for your room I believe even.

I am not a ML (specifically electrostatic/dynamic hybrid designs) fan but that is just a matter of taste.

Haven't heard the Zus but the design appears more like the Totems you indicate you liked.

So if it were me, either OHM and ML for the most contrast between the two or OHM and Zu for two that may sound somewhat more like each other.

I have larger OHM 100s in a 12X12 room and they are a perfect fit. Smaller MWTs in a slightly smaller room should be a good fit also. OHM 100s new go for about $1800 I believe and would still fit your budget. Mine are used 100 series 3s (in OHM Walsh 2 cabinets) that I picked up for only $600 here on A'gon about 2 years ago!
For a room that small I'd reccomend the OHM's. When I was auditioning speakers a few years ago I listened to among others the Gallo's. Ended up with the OHM 100 M3. No comparison, the OHM's beat the Gallo's in every category. Using 150w & the Gallo's in your room will be overkill IMO. Stick w/the OHM's.

So I've eliminated the Zu for now. I'm not using low power tubes and it probably does not have enough of the sound I'm looking for. I picked up a pair of Ohm MWTs. They should be here in a week or so. I just need to decide between the Gallos and the Martin Logans. I think the Logan would probably be better in the small room I have to work with, and I've always wanted to own a pair.
I'd be very surprised if the Gallo's could beat the OHMs.

Maybe on bass impact with the right amp but not in overall balance, refinement and overall listenability.

The MLs might have a chance in that they have such a totally different but also smooth presentation that many take well to.

Let the battle begin!

I had a pair of Totem Arros briefly. Alhough they are very fine speakers, they didn't "float my boat," either, for many of the same reasons that you cite -- I found them rather bright, and the sweet spot was so narrow in my room that it stressed me out -- that "sitting with your head in a vise" experience.

I went to a pair of Ohm Micro Walsh talls, and then to a pair of Ohm 100's.

Of course, your mileage may vary, but given your room size and the power of your amp, I think the Ohms will be fabulous. Or I'll at least say it's a good bet that you'll be very happy with them. The Micro Walsh Talls really are one of the great bargains of high-end audio. Please do let us know what you think!
I also have a small room - 10.5 by 12.5 -- which I have been working with for the past 18 months.

The smaller the room, the more important acoustic treatments become. Small rooms are basically echo chambers. Treatments can make these rooms sonically much larger than they are phyicially. Bass treatments aside, the treatments needed do not take up much space.

The room needs diffusors on the side walls and the front or back wall. The other front/back wall needs to be absorptive. Auralex diffusors work for me. Also DIY plans are available at the Decware website. There are a couple of excellent room treatment white papers there. I have also heard of using bubble wrap -- the bigger the bubbles the better -- for diffusion, but have no experience with it.

Of the speakers on your list, I have owned only the Gallos. I had them in a large room. They like air. The more you give them the better they sound. I talking about say 4 or 5 feet off the wall behind and a couple of feet off the side walls.

As you probably know the ML users manuals state that the speakers can be used in a room of any size. They also go on for pages describing the "how to" of room treatments. There is a message here.

I would avoid rear-ported speakers. They generally need to be out from the wall behind and there just is not enough space in a small room for this and to allow space for sound stage integtration.

Please keep us posted. If you decide to go with the MLs, I would be especially interested in hearing about your experience.
>>05-30-09: Mapman
I'd be very surprised if the Gallo's could beat the OHMs.<<

That's really short sighted. How does one speaker "beat" another? We all have different keys and cues which make a speaker "better" to our ears. The operative word being "our".

I suggest you learn a little more about what, why, and how we hear. Pick up a copy of "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel Levitin and you'll understand better.
Do omnis present challenges for room treatment, or do they solve some of it by radiating in all directions?

I have no trouble doing some minor room treatment. I could also rearrange my room into the diagonal setup as recommended by Decware. Should I be doing either of these with the omnis?
"How does one speaker "beat" another?"

The op indicated he will buy 2 and sell one, so one will win and one will lose.

"We all have different keys and cues which make a speaker "better" to our ears."

No doubt. All outcomes are possible so nothing should surprise me really I suppose.

"Pick up a copy of "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel Levitin and you'll understand better.'

Sounds interesting. I'll have to give it a look!
Do omnis present challenges for room treatment, or do they solve some of it by radiating in all directions?

The Ohm's aren't "true" omnis, and this is by design. The "CLS" drivers deliberatly attenuate output in the rear in order to avoid rear-wall reflections that can confuse imaging and otherwise muddy the sound. One nice byproduct of this is that they don't have to be way, way out into the room, an obvious plus in a room of your size. Also, because they are very easy to move around (no spikes!!!) it's very easy to experiment with positioning, and/or to move them into position when you are listening and out of the way when you're not.
There's no way to know what a given speaker will sound like in your room until you set it up in your room with your associated equipment. Again, with the 120-day Ohm home audition, you can do this with no risk except for the cost of return shipping.
05-31-09: Audiofeil
>>05-30-09: Mapman
... We all have different keys and cues which make a speaker "better" to our ears. The operative word being "our".

I suggest you learn a little more about what, why, and how we hear. Pick up a copy of "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel Levitin and you'll understand better.

You can't select the speakers that satisfy you (other than dumb luck) until you come to understand how each speaker type interacts with a room, and which room interaction you prefer. Mini-monitors present a virtual point source; panels radiate a figure-8 pattern and reduce sidewall and floor-bounce interactions. Phased arrays can present a stunning 3-D image, but some have a *very* narrow sweet spot.

Personally, I like Omnis because their in-room power response is reasonably linear and energizes the listening are similarly to live musicians. But that's me. Someone else might favor nearfield listening, or a controlled dispersion pattern (e.g., horns), or a phased array, or forward-firing, but wide dispersion (e.g., Merlin, Paradigm, many others).
Would the Gallos be a pseudo-omni as well?
05-31-09: Mailman199
Would the Gallos be a pseudo-omni as well?
The last time i checked their cylindrical tweeter has a dispersion of 330 degrees, yeah, pretty much. That's why they throw such an enormous soundstage.

Personally I like the Mirage OMD series. They throw a sort of mushroom-shaped soundfield tilted 60% to the front. Their research indicated that this pattern creates an in-room power response much like live singers and musicians do.
I use Druids (thanks to Audiofeil for the recommendation) at close range (4 feet) in a room that is 9' x 13' with excellent results. The ceiling is about 14 foot high and has a slope and the room is a triangle shape so that helps. I drive them with a tube amp. I tried all different types of audio sound panels and absorbers and nothing made any difference. So, I ended up with no room conditioning. I guess it is so near field that reflections are not really an issue. I tried a pair of Gallo Due and they were horrible in this room. Mark and Daniel Ruby's were too harsh I stopped at the Driuds becaue they were so right.
We've played the Druids in a variety of situations. It does help them to have some power behind them, even if you don't use it. They work quite well on solid state too (I am partial to tubes of course :)

Sounds to me like you will need to do some auditioning in your room!
11 x 11 is too small for the Gallos. You will have major bass problems. Granted, you'll have major bass problems with anything in that room, especially with no real treatments.

I also wouldn't put an electrostat (ML) in a small room. You wouldn't have the space to set them up right, and would be unsatisfying.

I haven't heard the other two.

Good luck.
Atmasphere, that's very generous of you. We haven't always agreed, but I've always respected your imput.
I had Gallo's without bass amp in a 10/13 room, and I thought it was a perfect size for them...in a bigger room, they just sound too small :-(