Review: Ohm Acoustics Walsh 5 Series 3 Speaker

Category: Speakers

Bottom line: Yes, I think these are world class speakers that are relatively affordable, that work well with good or even great electonics, without spending a fortune, and despite the modest price, and pre-requisites in term of the supporting system, can compete with the best at most any price.

About 1 year ago, after several years of living more or less happily with my then current system, I got the urge to investigate whether my system could be improved to my ideal. Like most, I am not in a position to throw tens of thousands of dollars into my system. A few grand max is the most I could rationalize spending to achieve my ideal.

I have had the opportunity to audition many systems and components over the years, and run different speaker systems in 6 different rooms of my house.

When the urge to explore upgrades came, I had a pair of B&W P6 floor standers in one room, a pair of Magneplanar MG1.Cs in another, a pair of Triangle Titus monitors paired to an M&K v1-B sub in another (for A/V), and a pair of original Ohm Walsh 2s in yet another.

Each of these speakers had different strengths and weaknesses.

The B&Ws were beautiful, had good bass and a nice warm sound, but I could never get the transparency, imaging and detail I heard with my Maggies or good electrostatics when I heard them, like the Quads.

The Maggies were attractive looking, had the transparency, imaging and soundstage, but were lacking somewhat in the bass and hard to place optimally without being obtrusive and lacking in WAF accordingly.

The Triangle/sub combo was very smooth detailed and transparent wit good low end good, very fulfilling, but perhaps a bit lacking in soundstage and the "live like being there" soundstage factor, which the Ohm Walsh 2's owned.

The older Ohm Walsh 2's had the most lifelike soundstage and imaging but the detail and balanced timbre was not there compared to more modern designs.

I realized at this point that the unique "live like being there" factor of the Ohm's were the most distinctive feature of all and would be the hardest and most expensive to achieve with other lines.

So how to get all the best aspects of all this into 1 affordable package?

The solution, at least based on reading, appeared to be current line of Ohm Walsh (Series 3) speakers. From what I read and heard, these retained the unique live performance characteristics of the older Ohm Walsh drivers + 20 plus years of refinement by Ohm in timber, balance, soundstage and detail.

Ohms current line of Walsh speakers are designed to provide similar levels of performance from small rooms to large.

So if your room is relatively small, in theory you could get no compromise sound with the smaller Walsh speakers that start at about $1000. THese would be the Micro Walsh models that received a sixmoons Blue Moon award (

For larger rooms, the larger Walsh 300s Series 3 at about $5000 is the solution. The Walsh 5 Series 3 at $5000-$6000 dollars provides level adjustments that enable these to go in any room, small to large, and adjust the drivers to the room acoustics as the user sees fit.

So after some further lower cost experimentation with high quality monitors and the smaller Ohm Series 3 speakers in one of my smaller rooms, I determined that the Walsh 5 Series 3 drivers were the solution for me. But the $5000 and up cost was prohibitive. The solution: John Strohbeen at Ohm offered up a pair of refurbished F-5 Series 3 speakers with new Walsh 5 Series 3 drivers for lower cost. These went straight into my largest room which is about 30'X18' but L shaped, not rectangular.

Getting the high end sound I was looking for in the L shaped family room was a unique challenge. An advantage of the Ohm Walsh CLS drivers (particularly the adjustable Walsh 5 drivers) however is that they are fairly easy to place and still get excellent results.

The F-5s replaced the Magneplanars in the big L shaped room. I loved the Maggie sound but these were very hard to place for optimal sound.

The Ohm F-5's have all the great qualities of the Maggies, but are even better and provide better impact and dynamics, particularly in the low end.

So what do the F-5s sound like?

Well, without, trying to be coy, I'd say they sound like whatever source signal you happen to put through them should sound like in your particular room. I honestly cannot fault them in any way I can think of. Maybe they do not have the nth degree of detail of a good pair of monitors perhaps. But if so, it really doesn't matter because when you listen, you do not get the sense that you are missing anything.

What the Ohms do perhaps better than any other speaker design I've heard is transform your room into a concert hall. If you think about what more can you ask from a pair of speakers than to provide the best sonic rendition possible in your particular room? Take any recording on any system or any live performing group or ensemble and put them in different rooms or concert halls to perform, and they will sound different in each room everytime. There is no ideal concert hall just like there is no ideal speaker or system. Each is different. Furthermore, you will hear something different in even a great venue depending on where you sit. So location in the room relative to the performers is a factor as well.

The F-5s sit about 4 feet apart and about 3 feet from the rear wall. The rear wall is about 20 feet wide. The Ohm CLS drivers seem to work like what I would call sound projectors.

Much like a video projector projects a picture onto a wall, the omndirectional Ohms project the sound in all directions, upward and 360 degrees around, similar to how the sound eminating from a live act is projected in all directions, reflect off the walls and other solid surfaces, and eventually reach your ears.

As I indicated earlier, what reaches your ears with the Walsh 5 Series 3 drivers is for all practical purposes whatever the music signal input was.

In my case the soundstage extends fully from left to right wall, about 20 feet, even though the speakers are only 4 feet apart. Despite the fact that my speakers location is skewed about 3 feet to the right of center, mono signals occur exactly at the mid point between the walls and extend to the walls fully both left and right. The soundstage extends well back behind the rear wall as well.

Individual instruments and recording mix elements are crystal clear and balanced from top to bottom and can be picked out easily due to the huge soundstage.

Furthermore, the soundstage and overall clarity of presentation holds up no matter where you sit in the room. Like sitting in different seats in a concert hall, you will get a different somic perspective in each location, but the presentation is full, complete and yes coherent regardless (hence the Coherent moniker in the driver name?).

The Walsh 5 driver are only 87db efficient, however my 150 w/channel Musical FIdelity A3CR has no problem driving them to realistic listening levels. I've found both the Walsh 5 series 3 drivers in the F5s and the smaller 100 drivers in the super Walsh 2's can take whatever power you thow at them and deliver the goods.

My only wonder with the F-5s is what they might be capable of if I threw a top notch high current monster amp at them. This may be the next frontier for me to explore someday.

Associated gear
Musical Fidelity A3CR power amplifier
Carver c-6 preamplifier
Harmonic Technology Truth Link Interconnect (re-amp->amp)
Denon CDR 1500 CD
DNM Reson interconnects (CD->pre-amp)
Linn Axis with Basik tonearm and Denon DL103R low output MC cartridge
Roku Soundbridge with Audioquest G snake interconnect

Similar products
Ohm Walsh 2
Ohm Super Walsh 2 Series 3
Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MkII
Triangle Titus with M&K V1-B sub
Magneplanar MG1.3c
B&W P6
Ohm L
Quad Electrostats
Nice review, thank you very much taking the time! I owned the Ohm Walsh 2s for quite some time back in the early 80s thru the mid 90s. I agree that they had a great soundstage and were not very fussy about placement. They were not the last word in speed, resolution, and detail however.

I think I have finally found their replacements, speakers that replicate their soundstaging but surpass them in the other categories mentioned above: Gallo Reference 3.1s. I am tickled pink by these speakers.

BTW, I still have the Walsh 2s - with the special order match-grain oak cabinets, but one of them has fried drivers. If you know anyone who would want them, FREE, give me a shout. I'm near Washington, DC...

Just to clarify things, to the best of my knowledge; Ohm used to use true Walsh drivers in their speakers. Today Ohm markets an assortment of speakers as part of their "Walsh Series" but, the current Ohm Walsh Series do not use true Walsh drivers.
RLWainwright, I've heard the Gallo's + like them very much as well especially for the price.

Your fried Walsh 2 cabinets are worth up to the original price in trade in value to someone looking to buy a pair of Ohms from the vendor. Or someone could ship them to Ohm and have them modified and upgraded to 100 Series 3 drivers or order the drivers and do the mods yourself if you are a DIY person.

Unsound, the Ohm/Walsh driver debate has been beat to a pulp in several other threads here on the A'gon already so no sense in rehashing details. The current Ohm "Walsh" line, all use variations of what Ohm calls the "CLS driver", which is largely omnidirectional and Walsh-like but not pure Walsh. For pure Walsh, there are still a few other options out there.
Mapman, "that the Ohm/Walsh driver dabate has been beat to a pulp in several other threads here on A'gon so no sense in rehashing details" is curious in that your sentinments on thee speakers has been exhaustively contained in those very same threads. When the marketing terminology used by OHM which can be charitably described as confusing, is continued to be perpetuated, clairifcation is in order. Ohm continues this pattern of consumer confusion with their self described CLS ("Coherent Line Source") terminology. By most audio standards, OHM's CLS driver is neither coherent or a line source. The "+20 years of refinement" might better be described as development, as OHM's inability to maintain craftsman with the skills required to build true Walsh drivers required a move to a different technology.

Just to be clear, I am not in the audio or consumer electronics business or affiliated with Ohm or any other vendor in any way. I am not looking to profit from anything.

I did sell the Ohm line along with others many years ago when I did sell audio in my college days.

I am just a music and audio lover.

No malicious intent is intended, I assure you.



Just trying to share some love......
I wish you continued enjoyment.
Unsound, thanks + same back at you!
I was reading a Stereophile review of the original (series 1) Walsh 5 speaker/driver from 1987 that I had not come across before last night. The reviewer of the older Walsh 5's felt there were some midrange colorations with those speakers that negatively affected his ability to enjoy female vocals, opera, etc. and challenged Ohm to correct these down the road.

I can add to that observation. My original Walsh 2's (essentially smaller Walsh 5's) had similar coloration, which I describe in my review as "balanced timbre" issues.

Two series and 20 years later, I am confident that the Series 3 Ohm drivers have corrected the old timbre issues that existed compared to better modern designs. I confirmed that last night with a listen to a good quality recording of Mozart's Magic Flute. The female vocal's were as natural lifelike and absorbing as the rest of the presentation. It was like being in the opera house save perhaps for lack of sound reflections behind me, which I would atribute to my room acoustics, which are nothing special. Nice job Ohm on that one!
The KLH 9 electrostatic and the original OHM speaker are the only ones that "blew my socks off" upon first hearing. Sadly both were out of my budget at the time.
I enjoyed reading your review. I purchased a pair of Ohm microwalsh talls for my living room system to replace a pair of Magneplanar 1.5's that I loved but my other half didn't. I find I like the openness of the sound of the Ohm speakers which are similar to the Magneplan's in that asspect but much easier to place in a living room setting. I am thinking about getting a used pair of Walsh 2's and upgrading them to Super 2's myself or having Ohm do it. They would go in a room that is sized to fit their output. I would be interested in any comments you might have in comparing how your Super 2's compare to the Walsh 5's. Thanks.

I bought the super 2's used here on a'gon prior to the Walsh 5 investment in order to try out the waters first. I had them set up optimally in my main 12X12 listening room for several months in order to judge what they brought to the table.

I have never a/b'ed the Super 2's and f-5s in the same room, however I would confidently say that the Walsh line does work as the manufacturer claims, ie the smaller models sound like or perhaps even the same in smaller rooms as the larger models do in larger rooms, all other factors aside.

Since most all rooms are different and sound different, it is hard for me to confirm that they sound EXACTLY the same, however, I would feel confident saying that, once fully broken in, the smaller Walshes have essentially the same sonic characteristics I've attributed to the larger Walshes.

In my case, in either 12X12 room I have used the 2's in, the only difference I could cite is perhaps that the bass with the 2's in those rooms is perhaps more powerful with the same 150w/ch amplification as the f-5's in the larger room. The f-5s do have the unique advantage of the 4 level adjustment controls to match the overall timbre to room acoustics which help make placement even easier.

I have not heard the micro walshes, but I suspect the main difference you would hear with the Walsh 2 Series 3 would be a more powerful and extended low end.

The thing with the Ohm Walsh line as described in the Stereophile review on the Walsh 5's, is that they deliver a very lifelike soundstage compared to perhaps all but the best and most expensive box design speakers. You almost have to re-train your ears to some extent in order to properly "tune in" initially if you are used to hearing the sound come out of two boxes in a particular location.

With the Ohm Walsh line, you kind of have to think about listening to the room more than the speakers, if that makes any sense. Now that I've "tuned-in" to the sound of the Ohms in my rooms, however, I would feel cheated going back to most any other conventional box design speaker, at least any I know of in the same price range.
From what I can tell, based on the info Ohm provides plus what I know about the Walsh patent, the present Ohm driver is not a Walsh nor is the Ohm speaker an omni (as the Walsh had been).

The present Ohm driver seems to be a wide-band midrange driver, the rear-radiation pattern being absorbed by placement of an acoustic device near the driver itself. The CLS driver then hands off to a conventional dome tweeter. These are then supplemented by a woofer.

So - the mid driver projects 180 degrees, limited by the acoustic absorber. The some tweeter projects as a dome tweeter does - narrowing pattern as frequency rises. The woofer woofs, fairly omni.

The original Walsh driver was a direct radiating full-range point-source omni. It was also a bitch to drive and rarely survived the attempt.

The closest thing to a Walsh driver is the German Physiks 3D driver (DDD), which is a point-source direct-radiating omni that covers the band from below 300 Hz up to 24kHz.

As the North American distributor for German Physiks I've become very familiar with where these designs parted ways (Walsh and DDD), and the history of the development of the DDD is actually quite fascinating as the engineering behind it represented the first time ever that the mathematics governing exactly how an omni-radiating bending-wave DML were so completely modeled and understood.


The current Ohm's use a two way driver, not three, as I understand it. There is a separate tweeter for the high end but not a separate woofer. A single driver handles the midrange and everything below.

The Ohm A's and Ohm Fs were the first speakers to apply the original Lincoln Walsh design. There is some information about this available on wikipedia worth reading.

The German Physiks systems are very nice indeed from what I've read. Is there a dealer in the DC/Maryland area? I would love to hear them!
Excellent review and on target in it's observations. One of the most striking properties of the Walsh 5 Series 3 loudspeakers, given their comparatively modest footprint, is their ability to depict the sheer power of a symphony orchestra at full fortissimo as a realistic and huge soundstage, at hair-raising volumes, effortlessly and without distortion. Other loudspeakers sound like they are shouting at you when they attempt live concert hall dynamics. The Ohms just step aside, disappear, and fill the room with glorious sound, palpable and dimensional, and completely convincing. The other loudspeakers that I've heard do this were the huge IRS reference towers and the largest B&W references systems. These are much larger and much more expensive than the Walshes - and they do not provide the coherence and purity of sound possible with a true point- or short-line source which is virtually full range (without crossover except above 8 khz).
Thanks Mapman. I have to agree that the Ohm sound grows on you. I have a pair of conventional ported 2-way speakers with high end drivers in another system. They are great but in comparison to my ohms, they seem to shout the music at me while the ohms seem to make it happen around me. Once you get used to them, it is hard to go back.

For a couple hundred or maybe less, you can pick up a used dbx range expander on ebay. I'd recommend a 3bX (three range expander) or better.

My 3bX series 2 can take the Ohms up to even yet another level in terms of dynamics! Compressed recordings have more impact and power. Recordings with exceptional dynamics already can take you into uncharted territory in terms of dynamics and impact!

The Ohms seem capable of handling whatever you can throw at them in terms of power and dynamics, that's for sure! This is one area where I feel certain without much chance for doubt, from what I've read and heard, that the engineers at Ohm have clearly improved the line over the original A's and F's.

The dbx works well with my other speakers as well, but tops the charts with the Ohms in my house.
Funny you should ask! ... no, there is not. BUT - we are planning a visit to a Fall Church, VA area audiophile group (@ Jeff Fox's Command Performance AV) on May 17th where we'll be demonstrating the PQS-202 Mk. II model from German Physiks.

PQS-202 Mk. II
On OHM's website I found something - a statement that I disagree with, and that might make for some interesting conversation here:

The high frequency response is less important: no musical instrument has a fundamental note above 8,000Hz and CDs don't contain any information above 20,000Hz (most males over 30 actually can't hear that high!).

This in general seems to argue the point for their CLS driver topping out at 8kHz, insinuating that - because musical instruments do not have fundamental frequencies above 8kHz - the frequencies above 8k become decreasingly important to the experience. They further seem to argue that, because you and I (males over 30) likely cannot hear 20k tones, the high frequencies above the operational limit of the CLS are largely unimportant.

I would argue that the high frequencies through 20kHz (and higher) are important (critical!) to the preservation of transient waveforms existing octaves below them. You can't make a square wave without harmonics - namely (at least) the 3rd, 5th, and 7th. If those harmonics aren't preserved and phase relationships between them and the fundamental preserved, you're transient response is likely to suffer. If rise time and slew rate of any waveform suffers - "High Fidelity" becomes less of a standard and more of a marketing phrase.



I will have to try and come by and catch a glance and listen!


I may get in trouble for speculating here about Walsh drivers, but oh well you only live once...

I am not expert enough to comment on the waveform issue. I can confirm that I am older (under 50 though) and I did not hear anything at 20000 Khz when I ran a frequency response test record through the Ohm f-5s, even on axis with the tweets. I could hear most everything else down to 20 hz pretty consistently. It could be due to anything though in the signal path, from the cartridge up to my ears or some combination of the above.

I'm pretty sure in my younger college days, I did hear something up to 20000Khz when I ran the same test record through my old simpler, (and much cheaper!!!) system back then which consisted of a nice but unspectacular Philips turntable with Audio Technica Cartridge, Hitachi Class G receiver and Ohm L bookshelf speakers.

I may try tghe test again sometime with the L's, which I still run, or the Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkIIs and see if I hear anything that way to determine if it is in fact my aging ears or not. The timbre of the Ls and the Dynaudio's are both a bit brighter in general than the Ohm Walsh line speakers and I do believe from my listening that the Dynaudio monitors, at least, are better in terms of pure high frequency resolution than the Ohms.

When I read about the DDD driver technology and the materials used (titanium, etc.) and try to envision what they might sound like, it is not a stretch for me to believe that these may very well technically best the current Ohms in the high end detail area, especially in the omnidirectional aspect.

I recall that the Ohm F Walsh driver also used titanium for the high end, but I believe the specs for the F's did not extend beyond 17000kHz or so either.

The other thing I noticed is that the larger German Physics full range speakers are a two way design, like the current Ohms, but the approach there is to use a separate driver for the low end, not the high. I have no doubt that this is a superior design in terms of omni-directionality, since low frequencies are inherently more omni-directional than highs.

The GP DDD driver must clearly be more omnidirectional at the high frequencies than the Ohm CLS design which uses a conventional tweeter there.

The GP DDD also appears to best the old Ohm F's as well in terms of high end extension. Given technology advancement since the days of the Ohm F, I would expect that the GP DDD would easily best the high end of the old Ohm Fs in most every other aspect as well.

Interesting stuff.....
The GP DDD is an outstanding accomplishment, but ... you pay for what you get,. The Ohm offerings seems very nice for their asking price.

FYI - there's a GP model, the Unicorn, that uses just a DDD loaded into a special bass-horn. With the carbon fiber DDD it's 40Hz - 24kHz (+/- 0dB), and in-room delivers monstrous low frequencies. This one is my next GP acquisition, I think.

One driver, full range point source omni. It's GOT to be heaven. ;-)

I was just checking out Ramy's system on Audiogon with GP surround sound and multi level listening.

Now that's some setup! I imagine it must truly sound essentially like a live performance regardless of listening location.

The center channel speaker alone appears to cost a good bit more than my entire system!
I'm using the Walsh 5 Series 3 in a smallish room (24' x 14' x 8' with peaked ceilings - bonus room over garage) driven with a beast MOSFET amp (240W into 8 ohms; 400W into 4 ohms, 80A peak current) - consequently, the dynamics are quite unrestrained. The biggest problem was modifying the room to prevent reflective overload in the upper treble. The result is life-like dynamics and imaging to die for. If you're ever in PA, look me up and come on down and hear Ohm Walsh done right.

I am not far from Pa.

You seem to really know your stuff. I will definitely contact you by email and see if maybe I can take you up on your offer to hear Walsh done right! I'm sure I can learn a few things and would enjoy the ride as well!

I think the current larger Quad electrostatics at ~ $12000/pair (don't recall the model #) are the only things I've heard other than the Ohms that has recently "blown me away", and competed for my reference standard.

I like my Dynaudio and Triangle monitors very much. They have many strengths as well that I like, but they are small monitors, and do not have the "blow you away" factor of the Ohms.

The same dealer also sells the Gallo Reference line. These sounded very good to my ears for just over $2000/pair, but were still a cut below the $12000 Quads at leat where I heard them.

The local dealer who sells the Quads told me that they used to sell the Ohm Walsh line (probably the original Walsh line, not series 2 or 3) as well years ago before Ohm went factory direct only and he had some very fond memories of them.

Of course, there are many other great speakers out there in this price range that others love and I have never heard.

I believe though that in their price range, especially starting at about $1000 for smaller rooms up to $5000-$6000 for larger rooms, the Ohms do offer a unique sound value.

If the German Physiks are the Lamborghini's of the various decendents of Lincoln Walsh's original Walsh driver design, I feel comfortable stating that the Ohms rate as say a Toyota Avalon, which is a very nice car, even if not the sexiest looking (though they have gotten better looking over the years in my opinion).

Maybe even a Lexus (if you splurge for one of the better veneer finishes)!
Regarding the Walsh 5's upper frequencies being reproduced by a tweeter, the German Physiks DDD driver also has a resonance at about 9kHz, if I remember well, that is "tricked out" by a GP proprietary filter arrangement. I think you can find something about this in their website.
Top Speaker Lines I Have Heard recently, like very much, and can recommend:

1) Quad electrostats
2) Ohm Walsh
3) Dynaudio
4) Magneplanar
5) Sonus Faber
6) Triangle
7) Focal
8) GAllo Reference
9) Totem
10) Usher

Other lines I've never heard but would most like to hear:

1) German Physiks
2) MBL
3) Apogee
4) Beveridge
5) Vandersteen
I would also love to hear a pair of Jadis Eurythmie and Cain & Cain Abbeys or equivalent some day.

Here's what they look like.

They are really beautiful cabinets - congratulations!!!
May you enjoy many years of good listening.
See my sonic comments on the Walsh 5 Series 3/4 in a more recent thread, "Ohm Walsh 5 S3."

Mamboni had reviewed the Walsh 5 S-3 in Audio Review before I purchased mine. I have never been able to approach the measured flatness of response he gets in his room. There is a strong peak in my room in what I label the lower midrange, between 150 and 300 Hz, seemingly a floor-to-ceiling mode resonance since it doesn't vary much with room placement. In another room with a drop ceiling and insulation above that, this peak is not really apparent unless you are listening for it.

I think that the Walsh speakers work better than most modern speakers with a wall close behind them. John Strohbeen told me he designs them for placement about two feet from the wall behind them. As Mapman says, in such a position they act like a video or sound projector onto the wall behind them, but there still is excellent depth of field, unlike most speakers so used. In my main audio room, I oscillated between having them set up firing into the long dimension of the room with eight feet behind them to the wall, and firing into the short dimension with the long wall only three feet or so behind them. The bass response was far flatter but not quite so extended the latter way.

Bass response is quite extended. In my room response is only 4 dB down at 20 Hz with the speakers firing across the short dimension. Firing into the long dimension, response does not fall below the 1 kHz level unti 16 Hz. Yes, the JL Audio subs add yet-further extension (flat to 10 Hz) and punch, but for the size and price the Walsh's bass extension is uncanny and unmatched in my experience.

The debate over whether the Ohm CLS driver is a real Walsh driver is pointless. No original Walsh driver could play as loud or cleanly as these could with any amount of power behind them. You needed 200 watts to drive them to moderately loud levels and less than 300 to break them. And beginning with the Series 3 CLS drivers, the amount of power needed for high SPL and great dynamics decreased greatly. With my Series 4 prototypes, driving them loud and clean is now child's play, well within the capabilities of a modest home theater receiver.

As to coherence, the Walsh S3 and S4 drivers sound like a one-way speaker. The single capacitor crossover to the tweeter at 8 kHz is not audible. Period. They are like Quad electrostats in this respect and far better than Magnepans. Only a very few other speakers I've heard can be listened to in the near field (as I often listen) without hearing out the individual drivers.

Calling the driver a "line source" IS a stretch in terms of the driver dimensions. However, if you listen from back as far as the speakers are apart, the name makes sense. The apparent sound source expands vertically to fill the floor to ceiling distance, despite the fact that the actual driver is less than a foot tall. You have to hear this for yourself to believe it. And if you listen in the near field with the speakers far apart, as long as you listen at the correct height (ears just below the top of the driver can) they sound like pulsating sphere point sources, disappearing into a very coherent, open soundstage.

My only sonic caveats about the Ohm Walsh speakers relate to what I mentioned in the other thread. They share, with all other wide dispersion speakers, the quality of imposing more of your listening room's acoustics on what you hear than narrower dispersion speakers do. Whether that is bad or good, you have to judge for yourself. Many find such designs sonically very attractive since they make all music sound big and very open. Combine this with the very canny tonal balance Ohm has chosen and the other qualities of the CLS driver and you get a mighty attractive total package of coherence, generous warmth, space, relaxed openness, size of presentation, and extended highs and lows which I've labeled the audio equivalent of comfortable old shoes.

No, they are not the last word in nuanced detail either spatially or in terms of what is usually labeled "transparency," but they are not slouches in these areas. No, the cosmetics of the driver can are not the best, but the grills look very nice and will cover that if the look of the cans bothers you. The binding posts did not take kindly to ProGold, so I replaced them. The driver cans form a death grip with the cabinet once screwed down and are very difficult to remove when necessary, as when one of my CLS drivers developed a case of high distortion and needed replacing. I do not find the switches useful, but then I have a TacT RCS 2.2XP to handle frequency tailoring; users with such tonal control could save $1,000 and buy the 300 without the switches. Nothing men make is perfect. The particular set of compromises Ohm has chosen here will please most users a lot, I think.
I think your review is spot on. I've had my Walsh 5 Series 3 for about 4 years now and I just love them. I listen to them every night after work and every weekend. They just produce beautiful non-fatiguing music, great imaging and a tactile acoustic - they disappear in my room. As I write this I am listening to Hurford performing Bach organ works - the huge expansive sound, reverberent field and bottomless yet taut bass is astounding. The Walsh's are totally coherent and clean from subway train rumble bass all the way to evervescent cymbal partials.

My greatest fear now is mechanical failure of my Walshes; I've got my system finally sounding perfect and do not want to change a single component - most especially the loudspeakers!

How did you get the Walsh head units off the cabinets? Mine are stuck on tight as well. I suppose I'll just play the hell out of them until they wear out in 20 or 30 years!
I wanted to share some tips based on some recent experience.

The Ohms are fairly easy to locate compared to most designs, however I have found that optimal placement achieved via critical listening and experimentation with location is critical to achieving the true "magical" results that many who have heard Ohm Walsh designs associate with the brand from experience over the years.

When properly located, imaging accuracy in the horizontal plane should be razor sharp and well defined and extend significantly from floor to ceiling, not fuzzy or blurry as may have been inherently more so the case with the original Walsh CLS design from the 80's.

Also, once fully broken in the bass foundation in good recordings should be rock solid and have a lot of impact and dynamics, not sound soft or mushy or diffuse.

The original Walsh CLS line from the 80s is by far the most commonly found. The recent Series 3 line (~2005-present) is a major improvement. If you've heard original Ohm CLS speakers from the 80s and liked them but had some reservations, the new Series 3 line is definitely worth a try.

Interconnects can also make a difference with the Ohms. I have noticed major differences in micro and macro dynamics from IC to IC.

DNM Reson interconnects work very well with the Ohms in my system.

Speaker cables may make a difference as well but I do not have much uselful info to offer up on that topic.
I owned a pair of Ohm 5 mkII's and like them alot. They were a tad large for my room and the best sound was a tad higher than the sittting area. Now that could be because I am 5'7" not 6'. They handled everything I sent there way. They had a non tireing sound. They went very low and dispersion was great. I like the Ohm concept and sound
Mapman, did you refinish those cabinets yourself? They look like original F cabs with castors. They are fantastic, and I actually thought they were F3's. I found that pic many months ago and had it as a desktop photo for a while. So, are the cab's modified in any way? I made the bracing upgrades that J.S. advised me to do back in '90 when I traded in my (3) F heads for the F2 replacements. Also, are these ported? I am considering chopping off the top mounted ports and retuning them through the bottom.

Wow, thanks for the compliments, but I can take credit for the photo only I suppose.

They are standard issue refurbs I acquired direct from OHM. TTBOMK, they are original F cabinets with OHms standard improvements and tweaks to match the new drivers, including the castors, which are a very practical tweak.

In normal lighting, they have a fairly conventional looking moderate dark walnut appearance. The flash in the photo (taken on a tripod for stability) makes the cabinets look much lighter and brings out the grain of the veneer to a much greater extent than one would probably notice live.

The F-5s are everything I've sought after in a speaker for that particular room, which is irregularly shaped and very challenging sonically. They give up very little if anything to anything else I have heard in regards to overall realism in presentation, including mbl, though I'll give the nod to mbl in regards to 3-d soundstage and depth of imaging at least when I've heard them properly set up and run of very high end and expensive mbl electronics.

For some closure, I finally took the plunge and acquired my "monster amps" a pair of Bel Canto Reference 1000 mkii monoblocs, 500w/ch into ohm doubling into 4, to drive the Walsh 5 S3s and the other speakers in my system. Monster in terms of power and current delivery, but certainly not in regards to size and power consumption.

These have met my expectations fully. They are vice like it seems in their ability to control the big Walsh 5 drivers. The sound has benefited accordingly. Rock, electronic pop, classical, large or small scale, everything is just about as good as I have heard anywhere..

The difference can be heard with the smaller Walsh 2 S3s as well. Same with Dynaudio monitors, OHM Ls (never knew these could sound this good). Even the little Realistic Minimus 7s out on my deck are not complaining.

The Class D amps are a wonderful innovation. I can strongly recommend the Bel Cantos for the OHMs. I suspect other well received Class D designs would yield quite similar results.
I also own a pair of 5.3 ohm's w/wyred4sound 1000. Fantastic!!!!! Sound!!!!... ice power forever. Larry L.
Mine was the first generation Walsh 5.Back then OHM only manufactured 500 pairs, mine was pair No. 47.They sound wonderful,transparent and had very wide sound stage. They even sounded better than my Infinity kappa 9 which I loved very much. OHM Walsh 5 was the best speaker I had ever owned. I think the series 3 will sound better than the fist generation one. I Bought these speakers from EBay for $1750 which was very cheap for speakers of sound quality like this.
If you find one pair out there just grab them, you won't be regretted.
"I think the series 3 will sound better than the fist generation one."

I can say from experience that series 3 100 drivers in Walsh 2 cabinets far exceeded the original Walsh 2s in regards to overall refinement and detail in all regards.

now there are even newer 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000 drivers. These supposedly make major changes in teh Walsh drivers used and the resulting sound is described again as evolutionary but not revolutionary. haven't heard these yet.

Saw this ad and thought I'd share.   I'd be tempted if I lived closer.


That is tempting. What was the model you had in your living room? I cannot remember but I do remember the sound. I may keep my eyes open for the smaller Ohm's on the used market.

It's still an open invitation for you to come by for a visit. My listening room was in some disarray for a while there but its under control now.
Lance those were the 100 series 3 drivers (8" drivers, one generation prior to current) on refurbed Walsh 2 cabinets.  Somewhere between 1000 and 2000 models in the current line in terms of size and output. 

All models in the walsh line at any particular time essentially sound the same when properly fitted to room size.   So room size pretty much determines the driver size and model that will sound best. 

I'll plan on it for this fall sometime after kids are back in school.  I'd really like to hear your gear.  

I’ve been running the Dynaudio monitors of late in the room where my smaller OHMs were, off the same Bel Canto c5i.

It’s amazing how different the Dynaudios in particular sound in there. More similar to the OHMs there, still a touch warm but not hot. Imaging is very holographic and detail is excellent.  If I closed my eyes I might think there were some very good electrostat speakers playing which is not something I would have thought prior with the Dynaudio Contours necessarily.

You liked the sound in that room in particular it seemed. I think the all digital Class D Bel Canto amp may be a cornerstone of that sound. Its the single most versatile great sounding piece I have owned, tubes there!