Review: Ohm Acoustics Ohm Walsh 100 Series 3 Speaker


Category: Speakers

I wanted to offer up some info that may be useful to those considering taking the plunge with the Ohm Walsh line for two channel stereo that might seek to gain entry at a minimal price point.

That would be accomplished with the Ohm Micro Walsh model for about $1000. I'd refer the reader to the review on sixmoons for more information on that model and Ohm, the company.

This review is about the Ohm Walsh 100 series 3, which provides a larger Ohm Walsh CLS driver than the micros.

After that comes the still larger 200 series 3 driver and then the 300 or 5 series 3 which utilizes the largest driver capable of providing the most extended and dynamic bass in the largest rooms.

The general rule of thumb with the Ohm Walsh line is the larger the driver, the more extended and realistic the bass response in a larger room. Chosing the right model really is that simple. See the website ohmspeakers.com or contact Ohm for more info.

When shopping for Ohm Walsh speakers second hand or used, the most important thing to be aware of is that there have been 3 major versions of the Walsh CLS driver that Ohm has used since its introduction in the very early 80s. Each sound different with the original 80s vintage drivers sounding least refined and the more recent (since 2006 or so) series 3 the most refined. These have the smoothest response, best detail, and best imaging accuracy. All models throw huge soundstages. The series 3 is probably the best here also, but the difference is more marginal in my opinion.

Also, Ohm regularly will customize the internal driver configuration to better suit a particular customers needs. Plus, Ohm users have been upgrading older Walsh CLS speaker systems with newer drivers for around 20 years now.

The bottom line is, other than driver size, unless the seller can confirm the exact series and configuration in side the "cage", it can be difficult or even impossible to know for certain exactly what is in there or exactly what it will sound like, even if in perfect operating condition.

So bottom line is trust but verify when buying used to know exactly what you are getting.

Now, on to the 100 series 3. THe model I own that I am referring to in this review is the Ohm "Super Walsh 2". These are original but refurbished 80's vintage Walsh 2 cabinets modified and fitted by Ohm with the latest Ohm 100 series 3 driver system.

There is a lot of information available already on the general sound of the Ohm Walsh line.

The value added information I can provide here comes from having had 3 different variations of Ohm Walsh CLS speakers set up in the same system and room for careful a/b comparison.

I can offer comparison of the 100 series 3 system with the larger and top of the Ohm line Walsh 5 series 3 and the original 80' vintage Ohm Walsh 2s that I owned prior and concurrently recently for several months.

First, let me address the 100 series 3 drivers in the Walsh 2s compared to the originals base on my experience hearing both in exactly the same listening environment.

The most useful thing I tell you here is that if you dismissed the Ohms back in the 80s due to concerns with timbre, detail and even imaging accuracy, these were valid concerns, but are no longer with the latest series 3 drivers.

Based on my experience owning several other popular brands like Magnepan, B&W, Triangle and Dynaudio these will compete favorably in all aspects of good sound with almost anything. The sound will tend to resemble that you might hear with other more omnidirectional designs however. MBL would probably be the best known. These can be placed closer to walls than many true omni designs however.

Currently the 100 series 3 speaks sit in the same 30X20 L shaped room where my larger Walsh 5 series 3s were, connected to the same system identically as well. The only difference is the speakers used and a slight adjustment in placement about 1 foot closer to the rear wall.

So what's the difference in sound? Not much. I have been amazed to find that the only difference I notice is perhaps a little less on the low end and perhaps a touch less meat on the bones in regards to overall impact, but even this is very marginal at best. You might be able to detect the difference more clearly with perhaps a pipe organ recording that gets down there in the low end.

One thing to note is that the Ohm 5s could go into a much larger room if I had one. The difference with the 100 series 3 would probably become more obvious as well in a larger room.

The fact that the much smaller 100 series 3, true to Ohms claims, really does sound so much like the larger Walsh 5 series 3 in a fairly decent sized room is quite a discovery in my mind.



Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System

Similar products
- Ohm Walsh 2 (original design, eighties vintage)

- Ohm Walsh 5 Series 3 (larger model for larger rooms with onboard level adjustments for room acoustics)

Dynaudio Countour 1.3 mkII

- B&W P6

- Magnepan mg1.3c
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I've owned a pair of Ohm F's and a mid 80's version of the Walsh 4's but I've never been able to do a comparison. Nice!

I would love to get my 4's back in working condition but due to the economy and job constraints, can't afford the expense. I was considering something smaller and less expensive and the smaller Walsh's might be the trick!
I think there is an upgrade available for Walsh 4's from OHM in the general price range ($1300 or so) as some smaller Walshes. I think that would be the way to go if affordable.

Or if you just wanted something smaller, you might be able to trade in the 4's towards 100s or 200s and lower the price.
The upgrade for mine are:
4.3 S3 upgrade - $2300
4.5 S3 upgrade - $3200

Right now, a little out of my price range.
I emailed John to see what I might get for the 4's.
You must have a larger room.

There is a 4.2 upgrade for ~$1500 listed on the website but it would be for more moderate sized rooms.
Good evening all,

Tell me, which model of the Ohm Walsh speaker system can equal the Magnapan 1.6 in a sound stage that's complete in height, specificity, width and depth? I listen mostly to modern jazz, big bands and small goups, and classical music. My preference is 16th, 17th and 18th century choral and orchestral music.

I love the human voice. I listen mostly to records but also have a number of Redbook CD's. I look forward to all comments. I also want to hear from anyone who has purchased the early Ohm speakers and then had them upgraded. Thank you so much.
Rbwinterlink,

It depends mostly on room size.

Please provide the dimensions of your room and if anything unusual or special about it?

My OHM F5s replaced a pair of full size Maggies prior in the same room. They are most outstanding with big band music and voices, hard to beat!
I have owned Walsh 4's from the 80's and upgraded with new speaker cans from Ohm ($1200) after listening to current speaker offerings and being disappointed. One caution, at least in my experience, is that the amplifier must be matched to this speaker. I use an equally old Classe DR 3, 25 watts class A, high current design(80 w is recommended). When attempting to replace it with a 100 w tube amp the base became bloated. Thus this is the warning: I believe the dampening factor is too low on tubes. The base is there, taking control of it is an important issue. I checked out the Blue Circle class A (I think BC 2) and it loses power with lower impedance. Though 6 ohms is claimed it is average. I think I read somewhere that the base is down to 2 or 4 ohm impedance, whereas the DR 3's power increases at lower impedance. It is in the design of the amp, so be careful.
The latest change made is using a passive pre-amp. The sound is fantastically clear and sweet.
I listen to all types of music and enjoy the electric base as well as the sweet sound of acoustic instruments. Ohm Walsh performs very well and I have no complaints.
Another issue is that the best sound I've obtained is in my current house, with a stone fireplace behind the speakers to reflect the sound coming out the back and a 10-foot cathedral ceiling to lose the sound coming out the top. The speakers need a reflective wall behind them to give the transparent sound stage. Good Listening.
Waynec, Mapman has written elsewhere the good success he has achieved using high current SS amps, namely Bel Canto Ref 1000s.
With one of my Bel Canto ref1000m monoblocks in for some servicing, I have been running the TAD 125 Hibachi monoblocks in my main rig with the OHM Walshes now for about a week.

Gotta say that the TADs have performed much better than I expected even with the big OHM 5s. ALthough they do not have the vice like control/damping of the BCs, not ultimately the slam and impact at higher volumes, they are still quite good and satisfying in most every regard, even at somewhat higher listening levels. Very impressive. Other than that, teh differences are really not all that noticeable, especially at modest volumes that most would not exceed normally.

I could easily recommend these as a bargain in amplification for the OHMs assuming one can find a pair now that TAD has ceased production of new audio products as best I can tell.
So you think there is a big sound difference in the Walsh Micro Tall and the Walsh Micro Tall Omni? I've found a pair of the omni's and would be using them for 2 ch listening in a 12x12x10 room.
Trout,

I am not certain but assuming a Walsh "omni" refers to a case where the Walsh/CLS driver output is not physically damped inside the cage in teh wall facing directions like the standard CLS configuration, ie SPLs are the same from the front, rear, and sides. If so, then considerable more distance from walls may be needed to get really top notch imaging and soundstage in a 2 channel stereo setup.

All OHM Walsh speakers are inherently "omni" to some extent.

Also I think the full "omni" Walsh speakers are traditionally sold for surround sound use in a home theater, which is a different kind of application than 2 channel stereo that I am less familiar with.
I just saw this older review from Map, and also a few of the later comments. I have had a pair of 3's upgraded to the 3000, and also have a pair of the MWT'S in the omni configuration. After I bought the MWT'S, I tried to listen to them in 2-channel mode and was rather stunned at how good they did sound. They pretty much wiped away any preconceived notions that I might have had about the omni version being used this way.

I had thought that imaging would be all over the place, ill defined and sound sprayed everywhere. Couldn't have been more wrong. I found the image to be just as good as my 3000's, and maybe in some respects better. Image height was very good and Ohm's in general I think already do a good job with this. On some older recordings, things could be a bit overblown and images would be at ceiling height and be a bit odd, again, very rare and mainly with older recordings. The Who, Who's Next was an example of this.

By far and wide, this experience listening to the little MWT omni was extremely favorable and just plain fun to listen to. So, even though the MWT omni may be designed more for surround duties, I would not pass on pair for standard 2-channel listening. You might find as I did that it is a pretty convincing little speaker in this mode. I do think Ohm speakers in general are not given much respect overall, and really is quite a shame, they put many more expensive and supposedly well regarded speakers to shame in terms of sheer musicality and every day listen ability. These speakers are true music lover speakers in my book. Enjoy! Tim
Its been awhile, but I still have these. These have recently settled into my second 2 channel A/V system. I have spent a fair amount of time recently working to get that setup up to snuff. Currently they run off the TAD Hibachi amps which deliver a nice touch of tube like warmth. Pre-amp is pre-amp section of my old NAD 7020 receiver, which I called in off the bench when my prior pre-amp here died. I keep thinking I need to replace it but then I listen again and decide no, so it has been in this system now for a year or so.

Main Source is PLEX app running on Amazon Fire box with Toslink out to mhdt Paradisea tube DAC using a NOS Tung Sol tube that came with the original GE and the DAC when I bought it here a ways back.

The most recent addition that helped put this system over the top was the Auralex Sub Dude isolation platforms that can be seen in my system pics. These were just what the doctor ordered to alleviate unwanted interaction between the bottom port of the speakers and the suspended plywood floors. It sounds as clean, holographic and well balanced as my main rig with the bigger OHM F5s to me now, having closed the gap considerably.
Hi Mapman. Thanks for your last post about the isolation platforms with the Ohm Walsh 100 Series 3 speakers. I think that will be my next system tweek. I also have these speakers. I bought a used pair of original Walsh 2's and drove to Brooklyn to have John upgrade them to the 100 Series 3 version, which was the latest version at the time. I am very happy with them and they remain the one unchanged component in my system. I drive them with an Audio Refinement Complete Integrated and the system synergy is really excellent. I've tried to replace this old amp a few times but it always seems the better performer with my Ohms. I recently upgraded my source to a Marantz NA-11S1 network player as I lately listen more to streaming sources. What has surprised me with this change is how good these speakers now perform with less than cd quality resolution files. I mostly listen to Spodify at their highest offered resolution and surprisingly, the sound is very comparable to my cd source direct. As I have no desire to upgrade my speakers, I appreciate your suggestion about getting the most out of them.
Hi Mapman. Thanks for your last post about the isolation platforms with the Ohm Walsh 100 Series 3 speakers. I think that will be my next system tweek. I also have these speakers. I bought a used pair of original Walsh 2's and drove to Brooklyn to have John upgrade them to the 100 Series 3 version, which was the latest version at the time. I am very happy with them and they remain the one unchanged component in my system. I drive them with an Audio Refinement Complete Integrated and the system synergy is really excellent. I've tried to replace this old amp a few times but it always seems the better performer with my Ohms. I recently upgraded my source to a Marantz NA-11S1 network player as I lately listen more to streaming sources. What has surprised me with this change is how good these speakers now perform with less than cd quality resolution files. I mostly listen to Spodify at their highest offered resolution and surprisingly, the sound is very comparable to my cd source direct. As I have no desire to upgrade my speakers, I appreciate your suggestion about getting the most out of them.
I am running the 100s3s off a bel canto c5i integrated these days and finding that to be a wonderful pairing.
I have the OHMs set up better now with the c5i and this
combo is knocking the ball out of the park. Best sound ever
in my "open concept" family room. If 60 w/ch is
enough for you this could be the last combo one would ever
need. Its making me wonder if this is all the hifi I might
ever really need.
News posted on www.ohmspeakers.com says Ohm will be at the New York Audio show in November. They will likely be running Ohm 1000s powered by Peachtree Nova 300. The new Peachtree is 300 w/ch Class D Icepower. That should be quite the combo!