When speakers almost sound like the instruments

My speakers,(Mirage OMD28) have been a struggle for the pass couple years, with small not very dense images, less sonic weight/bass than expected, lacking transparency, not the requisite extension top to bottom. But, the addition of a few other pieces finally brought image density, size and sonic weight to the presentation, much closer to reality. For me, this is when your system has arrived. The speakers bring Jazz to life. It took a conditioner,(SR Powercell mkII), and an excellent preamp,(Joule Electra LA150 mkll) to get my system there. Amazing how the same speakers you've had for a while, and struggled with (2 years) can be transformed from underwhelming and disappointing to very good.

Have you had speakers that you struggled with for a while and almost gave up on, almost sold, that you transformed from disappointing to all you expected?
I can't really accept your premise. It is your system that you struggled with, not your speakers, and your speakers were not transformed, you just found better system synergy.

Yes, most of us have found better synergy through careful component matching. The rest are on the merry-go-round of component upgrades.
Viridian, anyone would agree that some speakers are more difficult and tricky to drive well than others The OMD 28's fall into that category. As I said, a "struggle."
Speakers can be blamed too often or given too much credit for a system`s sound performance.You improved your AC power quality by adding a good conditioner. You also added a high quality active preamp. These are two significant upgrades. You certainly improved the quality of you signal thus your speaker (if a good one) will reflect these positive changes.Good speakers won`t sound their best if fed a poor upstream signal.
Congratulations for your getting your system to reach this higher level of sound quality.
Rather listen to a good amp thru so-so speakers than vice-versa.
Of coutse rather listen to Lamm monoblocks thru Magico 5's.
Time, experience along with lots of trial and error along the way.....the path of many an audiophile over the years.
Most amps and most speakers are "good".

I think the same is true these days about many a digital source as well.

Only certain combos done right can make magic for an individual though. That's the key.

Vinyl is still tougher to master IMHO. I think that is part of its appeal for many.
I was shocked when I first heard the difference an excellent preamp can make in a system. I was convinced that I needed a better amplifier, but the dealer proved to me that that attributes I was looking for - transparency, solidity, harmonics, could be better achieved by replacing the preamp.
Glad you're getting the performance that your Mirages are capable of. I made numerous system upgrades to get the most out of my previous speakers, Vandersteen 1Cs. I did eventually begin to feel that I had taken them as far as they could go, and ended up upgrading to Ohm Walsh 2000s a couple of years ago. Although I liked the speakers from the get-go, I felt that improvements in electronics, cables and room acoustics were in order. It's all a matter of identifying the bottleneck in your system and addressing it. Of course, once addressed, there is bound to be a different bottleneck elsewhere in the signal chain! But after upgrading my preamp, source gear, room treatments and cabling, my speakers are putting out considerably better sound than when I bought them. As finances allow, I will continue to make improvements, major and minor.
Identifying the current bottleneck and addressing it is always the way to go to wean performance out of any system, audio or otherwise. Often, easier said than done though. It takes time usually and lots of trial and error along the way.

The speaker/amp/room domain is always the place to start though in order to tackle the biggest potential bottlenecks first. Then it becomes more fine tuning from there.

I had 80's vintage Maggies for many years that I feel I had pushed to their limits but could no longer reach my newer more lofty goals. A near full system rehab (save turntable) followed, starting with the speakers, then amp, then the rest. Now, 4-5 years later, I am at a good place again that I have felt no need to muck with much for about two years now. How long can it last?????
Yes Bondmanp, thanks, the Mirage OMD 28's do not respond to just any obvious choice in electronics. I found that out. I had to go through 3 amps to get there, but the right quality preamp seem to do the trick.
We all take different paths to that goal of dialing in our speakers. What drew me to my present set was the fact that they sounded so much like instruments from the very beginning. A change of amps, CDP and wires along the way just helped to heighten the effect.

I guess (after writing the above) that some speakers are almost there to begin with while others need a little more help or it was just serendipity or dumb luck that I happened upon mine.

As long as you're there, enjoy.

All the best,
Have to agree here with Chayro. I too, like Foster 9, bought a Joule Electra LA 150 Mk2, and it transformed my system (had a CJ PV-5 previously).Deeper and wider soundstage, much better bass,and just enjoyed my system much more after inserting the Joule into the chain.
In my experence the larger speakers sound most like real instruments. The body/dynamics of many instruments just are not large enough on small speakers. The laws physics of make most speakers sound like miniture recreations of the event. This is fine but real life instruments have resonances and tonal charteristics much better served by larger transducers. I have just added Tannoy Westminsters Royals to my system and they sound the most true to life I have experenced. They may not be your cup of tea but try to audition some horn type speakers preferably with tube electronics. It is at least a learning experence worth a few minutes of your time. Hope this is of help if I understood your posted question.

Mark, it's interesting, there was a minority theory out of Europe a few years back that said that accurate reproduction of an instrument had to do with the surface loudness of the instrument as it relates to the surface loudness of the loudspeaker reproducing it.

In simpler words, the sound board of a piano is very large so the propogating surface of sound is large and a point on that sound board will have lower surface loudness. A comparable speaker would have a large driver and a large cabinet, or motor board. Now a violin has a small radiating surface and so it has greater surface loudness. So a small speaker in a cabinet with a small motor board is called for.

It's an intrigueing theory, and I have no real take on how accurate it is, I play everything through large, horn, speakers. But I love the theory behind the hobby and this one seems to stick in my mind.
I have a very similar experience to Foster, the OP. I have had a pair of Mirage OMD-15s for over 4 years. These are the little brothers of the OMD-28s, with a similar array of drivers and the Omniguide, but with downsized drivers and cabinet. I have also had a pair of Mirage bipolar M5si's for 16 years. For a long time I was fiddling with the things that most intuitively bring about more control of the speakers, such as high current amplification, and bi-amping or bi-wiring (I've done both with both pairs). But one day an audiobuddy stopped by with a handbuilt tube line stage and it simply kicked the system into a whole other dimension of palpability, imaging, clarity, and truth of timbre.

I bought the line stage on the spot and I consider it the source of my audio happiness. Also, I like the Mirage OMD series because their radiating pattern is so similar to that of voices and instruments. When the speakers energize a room the same way performers would, you get an improvement in the reality of timbre. Part of what gives an instrument its distinct sound is how it interacts with the room and omni speakers give you that.