MINT condition Mirage OM-C2 omnipolar center channel. One of the finest centers ever made and hard to find now. The driver complement consists of a tweeter/mid-bass combo centered both on the front baffle and again on the rear. To the extreme right of the front baffle is the passive radiator, and on the rear is the flared port (so then, there is a tweeter, active mid-bass, and passive radiator mid-bass on the front, and a tweeter plus active mid-bass on the rear)assure no lobing and a totally boxless sound unlike any center you have ever heard. I have used this with Magnepan, Mirage and Martin Logan with stunningly good results each time. $575. The OM-C2 center-channel speaker is pretty large and hefty. Its driver complement is the most unusual that I’ve seen. On the front, the speaker has a 1" PTH tweeter offset about 2" to the right of the center of the baffle. To one side of the tweeter there is a 5.5" polypropylene woofer, and to the other side there is a 5.5" passive radiator. Around back, the sloping rear baffle of the OM-C2 holds the same 1" PTH tweeter offset 2" to the left of the center. As well, there is a 5.5" polypropylene woofer to the right of the tweeter and a 2.5"-diameter port. This driver combination reportedly gives the OM-C2 an Omnipolar radiation pattern. The dual five-way binding posts are closer together than on the OM-9, and are suitable for wiring with joined banana plugs. The grille is more of a mesh sock, which is, unfortunately, non-removable so prying eyes like mine can only imagine the visual beauty behind it. The right and left end caps are finished once again in high-gloss black, with cherry available. For anyone that doesn’t understand the implications of Omnipolar technology, it’s time for a quick reminder. Put simply, these speakers employ a completely even radiation pattern unlike conventional point-source speakers. Radiating energy equally from all of the planes and angles so that, in theory, they can be pointed in any direction and still provide the same sonic focus. ‘That’s great,’ you might say, ‘but what’s that got to do with anything?’ Maybe if we mention that the Mirage OM-C2 is the first ever centre speaker to incorporate such technology the nature of this accolade might become a little clearer. In a nutshell, this unashamedly expensive centre is without doubt the best centre proffered for review this year. Considerably larger than most, the long black shiny OM-C2 demands to be coupled to only the largest rear-projection TV sets. Whether you bi-amp or bi-wire it, this monster box screams class. Even as part of the hugely impressive Mirage Omnipolar system, the OM-C2 made its dominating presence known. So impressive was it’s performance that our speaker know-it-all Adam Rayner was almost silenced again...’That the OM-C2 can sound so effortlessly ethereal and delicate, yet carry through the midst of a lot of other efforts from the rest of an array of speakers, is testament to very high quality indeed. The Mirage OM-C2 center-channel is the first horizontal center-channel that I’ve encountered that does not suffer a tonal shift when the listener moves to either side. Most center-channels with a woofer-tweeter-woofer arrangement, such as the Dahlquist QX50C, show this tonal shift to some degree, however small. This can be illustrated with the Mel Gibson’s voice in the DVD The Patriot. When I listened through the Dahlquist QX50C, Mel Gibson’s narrative voice in the opening scene and in chapter 27 tended to become muffled when I moved to the extreme left or right side of my sofa. With the Mirage OM-C2, however, his voice sounded the same at both listening positions, a remarkable feat! Not only is the OM-C2 a near-perfect match with many speakers, it also reproduces voices accurately. Watching the DVD Changing Lanes, I never realized that Ben Affleck’s voice was so high pitched, which is apparent when contrasted with Samuel L. Jackson’s low, resonating voice. Throughout Vanilla Sky, Tom Cruise is often wearing a mask, which muffles his voice. At other times, though, his voice is normal and the OM-C2 reproduced each voice convincingly. Positive speaker reviews have several things in common: "good (flat) frequency response", "neutral sound (freedom from coloration) ", and "clean, tight bass". Technology and manufacturing have come to the point where, at $1,000 street price, a speaker darn well better have these basic characteristics. And no surprise, the OM-C2 is excellent in these basic comment categories. What I would like to do then is expand on what sets this speaker apart from others in and out of its category. As I look over my notes, I notice a reccurring comment: "Very real". If everyone understood the English language where this term meant the same to us all, that might be the whole review in a nutshell. I listened for extended periods to very familiar music using Pro Logic, and what I heard was very pleasing to my ears. The cymbals on the newly remastered "Wish You Were Here" were very credible, taking on extra layers of detail. The very lyrical "Pieces of You" achieved a greater presence, warm and ambience. Holly Cole, a sultry voice with just a hint of edge, was reproduced with startling reality. Male vocals fared just as well with the benchmark Laysmith Black Mambazo singing sans-accompaniment. It is truly a unique experience to hear this speaker. The sound does not emanate from a single point but rather from a sphere about 1.5 meters diameter (well, I guess that is what Mirage is trying to achieve). With movies and broadcast television programs, performance was so realistic, it often caused me to forget to listen for the speaker and just enjoy Seinfeld, "Tomorrow Never Dies", etc. Of particular note is that the sound is equally good throughout the room, even far off center. Bass performance was a real treat. If you are one of the people obsessed with Pro Logic's "wide" center mode or like to run your Dolby Digital decoder for "large center", you must audition this piece. Though results in your particular listening room may vary, we obtained substantial output at 48 Hz, and still very audible bass at 25 Hz!! While listening to the OM-C2 a-la-solo, I had to check once or twice to make sure I switched off the mains and sub. Along those same lines, power handling was superb. The low end sounded even better as we pushed the envelope. Our VCR has the previously useless feature of being able to render any input signal as mono. By putting it in the tape loop and wiring the left amp to the OM-C2's upper posts and the right amp to the low, we effectively bi-amped the piece. At what felt like (I say felt) concert levels of clear output, I called it quits. In this configuration, I found music to be astonishingly enjoyable. Imagine if it were flanked by others like it . . . . For all the positive, there are two potential Achilles heals I must mention. Due to its unique sound and radiation, it may be very difficult to find suitable left and right matches outside of Mirage's own Ominipolar series. We always recommend staying with one manufacture across the front anyway, but perhaps even more so in this case. The flip side to this coin of course is that if you are fortunate enough to harbor a pair of OM-6s, this is probably the center to get, period. The other consideration is that of placement, a challenge all center speakers unfortunately have. Though the owners manual states that 12" of clearance around the unit will give acceptable results, the difference between that and open space is very obvious in this design. Not that it sounds bad if too near a surface, it's just a shame to curtail that which is unique about the design. So, in other words, try to position it on top of things and somewhat forward, rather than in or amongst cabinetry. Conclusion: At a time when even the best of manufacturers tend to put all their efforts into great mains and then come out with "cookie-cutter" mid-tweet-mid center speakers, the OM-C2 is a breath of fresh air. It achieves convincing, credible sound through forward-thinking and original design. An audition is therefore recommended whether it is in your price range or not, to appreciate what breaking with tradition can bring about. That the OM-C2 can sound so effortlessly ethereal and delicate, yet carry through the midst of a lot of other efforts from the rest of an array of speakers, is testament to very high quality indeed.