Pocket Martin Logans?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John_Charles, Oct 26, 2002.

  1. John_Charles

    John_Charles Agent

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    Often times there are those in my circles who ask for help with AV equipment or information about the subject. That combined with a natural love for the hobby finds my periodically auditioning schtuff of interest anyway. Ever on the watch for overachieving components, along with a favorable review in Home Theater Sound (http://www.hometheatersound.com/equi...e_omnisat6.htm), my interest piqued enough to finally meet Mirage’s Omnisat in person.
    Therefore on a recent business trip to Ontario, I stopped at a favorite haunt (East Hamilton Radio) and auditioned them in a stereo configuration, as I wanted to hear how well they do on their own. Being a Martin Logan owner, I also wanted to compare them against a brand with which I’m familiar to see just how close they come to or fall from grace.
    This kind of situation is great fun, because it lets me see how good a budget component may be, rather than not having a clue to its potential due to the usual budget components its likely to be displayed with. This then helps me give better advice to those having constrained resources - wanting systems that take a healthy swipe at the big boys, which is a very understandable desire. Therefore, when I find a component that can do better for half the cost, with an apparently good build quality, reputation, et al, this gives me more room to choose within the limit established by those requesting the help.
    So then if making personal and professional associates happy with the advice is the icing, the cake comes via jaw dropping by the associated sales staff during such an audacious audition. After all, they and customers alike are usually apprehensive in comparing such unlikely candidates, let alone brave enough try it in the first place. This is probably due to cost and reputation factors along with the fear of getting browbeat by the opinion of those who usually don’t know any better.
    Through interest, research, experience, and consideration for the sales staff at the time, there are limits as to what I’ll compare. However, when a component shows promise that others naturally gloss over and if I’m interested in it, I’ll try it! To wit, everyone benefits and becomes more educated on those particular aspects of the hobby. The pleasantly shocked sales folk can then relay better advice if they’re not afraid to, and those with whom I travel get better systems for their hard-earned moh-nay!
    Thankfully EHR carries Martin Logans and just happened to have a pair of Aerius’ fronting an all ML based-system (sans center channel) in what may be the worst sounding room in the entire store. It was here that the little MO’s (with roughly 30 hours on them) on their removable stands were plopped - right next to and inside of the ML’s (with roughly 50 hours on them).
    The last time I visited this room, there was a Pioneer Elite DV37 upstream from an Anthem AVM 20/MCA 5 combo feeding ML Requests. Actually, having heard the ’20 there in that setup prompted me to purchase one from EHR almost a year ago. Yeah I know the room acoustics sucked, but being somewhat familiar with it allowed me to weed-out most of the aural deadwood whilst being stunned by the ‘20’s very considerable capabilities. Well much to my dismay, they’ve since moved the Anthems to their showcase home theater room which doesn’t include ML’s (dey got in-walls…). The Requests were replaced with Aerius’ (Aerii?) for front channels, and in the electronics rack were the following 2 front ends:
    FE 1
    ·Pioneer Elite DV37 DVD player
    ·Pioneer Elite VSX 47TX Receiver
    FE 2
    ·Kenwood “Sovereign” DV-5050M multi-disk DVD player
    ·Kenwood “Sovereign” VR-5080 Receiver
    I don’t know the origin of the interconnects or the cables so I can’t make comment, but I nonetheless resigned to work with what was currently “in the rack”; ‘sides, it was the only dedicated room where I wouldn’t be bothered by a lot of pedestrian traffic and noise. Ergo, the sales guy hooked the MO’s to the Kenwoods and left me alone.
    Given the above, please understand that I didn’t take the time I didn’t have to position/reposition the speakers, seat, and rack to get a better sonic return. Nonetheless, with this first round of listening I used material displaying various vocal, soundstaging, and imaging aspects so, I proceeded to listen armed with the following:
    ·Loreena McKennitt – The Mask and Mirror
    ·The Turtle Creek Chorale – Postcards
    ·Lyle Lovett – Joshua Judges Ruth
    ·Billie Holiday – Billie’s Best
    ·Gustav Holst – The Planets
    ·Kelly Joe Phelps – Lead me on
    ·Hot Jazz Biscuits (a compilation)
    ·Contate Domino (A Swedish Christmas compilation)
    ·Bonnie Raitt – Luck of the Draw
    ·Rusted Root – When I awoke
    ·Seal – Seal (first disc)
    Understanding that Track 1 of Mask and the Mirror (The Mystic’s Dream) combines the aforementioned criterion, along with finger cymbal harmonics (might be crotales –small round ~ ¼” thick brass disks used in percussion, but I’m not sure) I got my baptismal into what the Omni’s might be capable of. Hooked-up to the Kenwoods they sounded open, but constrained, flat, and lifeless. Suspecting that the sales person connected one of them out of phase, I stopped the music, went behind the speakers and found my suspicion was confirmed.
    Having righted that wrong, I listened again. While they were noticeably more open and less constrained, vocals still had what was to me an irritating congestion. This was something that sounded not so much like a characteristic of the room but quite possibly the electronics. On top of that, the attack of the finger cymbal and the associated harmonics and decay were truncated and “darker” than what they should be.
    So I switched from the Kenwood to the Pioneer rig and played track 1 again. Woh-ho-ho! Mouth agape, I sat totally disbelieving what I heard. Because the comparatively severe personality imparted by the Kenwood setup was stripped away; every aspect of the Omnisat’s presentation was cleaned up by roughly an order of magnitude! OMG, in one fell swoop, the Omni’s immediately vacated their price bracket and headed upward – in a word: unbelievable! As you can imagine, it was at this point the test became the fun I hoped it would.
    For the MO’s simply didn’t sound as colored and constrained as the box speakers anywhere near this price that I’ve auditioned lately. Yep-heh, the culmination of non-parallel internal surfaces, reasonably wise choice in drivers, internal components, overall cabinet design, and low price has paid off in a nice way. No, really… And on top of that, their true (unlike Mirage’s other designs) omni-polar radiation pattern provides a very enveloping presentation along with presenting a HUGE sweet spot. And this was one of the main reasons for my audition, as I’ve waited quite a long time for a manufacturer to come up with an omni for the masses and get it done right.
    So without getting too happy about the prospect of an inexpensive speaker I could be initially comfortable with (in many an application), I disconnected the MO’s and connected the ML’s to shed some comparative light on the subject… For roughly an hour after that point, I compared the two speakers back and forth on mostly track 1 of Loreena’s disc. The reason? I couldn’t believe how much the little “nerf ball” was doing right! For relief, I occasionally threw in The Turtle Creek Chorale or Rusted Root to recalibrate my aural palette, but tended to go back to Loreena and key-in on the subtle differences I heard between the two contenders.
    First off, with that room, speaker placement, and upstream componentry, the Omni’s threw a stage every bit as deep and wide as the Aerius’ (Aeriusesses???) though the imaging wasn’t quite as specific – but not too far off. If that wasn’t unbelievable enough, they came very close to the ‘Logans in overall timber in the mid-mids to mid-highs (at least for this type of vocals, and small brass cymbals)! In that setup with that track, the four initial clear differences the ‘Logans had over the Mirages were in: attack, detail, efficiency, and bass.
    For instance, in detail, there was a slight roughness to the breathy quality of Loreena’s voice that the Aerius nailed and the Omnisat smoothed over. There was also a clarity in how the venue was portrayed that was slightly veiled with the Omni’s. Though the timber of the cymbal was remarkably(!) similar between the two, the as presented attack and decay was (again) smoothed over by the smaller speaker. This is not to undermine the overall presentation of what I heard; I mean in that situation, the Omnisats were so good as to be an immediate hands down recommendation for LOTSA people in LOTSA different disposable income brackets! You should’ve seen the sales person's expression when he ducked back in and asked which one was playing!
    Now in a different room (rooms are like wine glasses, some will bring out the splendor of a subject while others will very much obscure it), with the same or better equipment, better placement, and more challenging source material, the race might not be as close. But in the there and then, I was so pleasantly stunned with what I was experiencing, I could’ve EASILY spent another few hours comparing the two and enjoying the education I received from each. But I had to meet beer, wings, and friends down at Chaps (down the street from EHR on Barton Road), so it was time to go.
    Still, knowing what can be had for the money, the music lover in me needs a better tweeter. I mean a design with this much promise for this little money deserves a more accurate high end (as a drummer, and being somewhat familiar with the break-in tendencies of Mirage Titanium tweeters, I need something more accurate). And they can look no further than under their roof and down the hall to John Tchilinguirian (of Energy fame). John has designed and implemented IMO some the better dome tweeters and as a matter of fact, Mirage could use the same tweeter from Energy’s C3 (which costs roughly the same per pair) and have a much better Omni! Then again the C3 is direct competition to the Omni and would provide a very interesting comparison. Even though I haven’t heard the latest version yet, a review lending some promise to their performance can be found at: http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/energy_c3.htm
    Without a doubt, that evening was highly beneficial, for my initial meeting with the Omni’s was very favorable AND I received an EXCELLENT price on an AVM 20 V2 upgrade board. So all of the above mixed afterwards with good beer (Rickard’s Red), WANGS, and friends, made for a very enjoyable evening!
    Nevertheless, this was round one. Round two will be conducted when I get back to Michigan, as there’s a place outside of Detroit that has both the Omnisat and Gallo’s Due’ in the same room – a place I summarily plan to visit. On the next trip back to Ontario, round three will be conducted with some more challenging material for the aforementioned two – then I’ll be able to get a better handle on what it can do.
    For the here and now, the Omnisat modded with a replacement tweeter from Energy (or other supplier, if either will fit) will start to do the trick along with any necessary crossover changes. Once I get a better handle on the midrange, I will see if it too needs to be replaced – ergo a very kewl aspect to this hobby. For with the right components and its already wonderful and true omni-polar performance, they indeed have the potential to be true giant killers. ‘Sides it would be worth it to purchase then modify them; a practice I’m not into but it’d be worth modifying these just to show people what can be done on the cheap, not to mention getting all silly over that kind of performance for that kinda money!!! Yeah I know the warranty would be voided – but what a way to go!!
    Hmmmmmmm… Now if only I could convince the A/V Shoppes to cater the beer and wings to me while I audition…
    In the meantime, go thee forth and listen wisely. ;- )
     
  2. Jeff Ery

    Jeff Ery Stunt Coordinator

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    I heard that there are more Omni's on the way.Bookshelves and floorstanders that are differant from their current line-up.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Very nicely written. Thanks for the great review. [​IMG]
     
  4. John_Charles

    John_Charles Agent

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  5. Todd Ener

    Todd Ener Extra

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    Mirage is coming out with a new line based on the Omnisats. They will have 2 floorstanding, 2 bookshelves, center and rears. Floorstanding models Omni 260 ($1000), Omni 250 ($800). Bookshelf models Omni 60 ($600), Omni 50 ($400). Rear model Omni FX ($400). These are priced per pair. Center model Omni CC ($400). The '5' models use a 5.5" woofer and the '6' models use a 6.5" woofer. I have listened to this setup and they sound great for the money.
     
  6. Alan_B

    Alan_B Auditioning

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  7. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Wonderful review John.
     
  8. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    Still, knowing what can be had for the money, the music lover in me needs a better tweeter. I mean a design with this much promise for this little money deserves a more accurate high end (as a drummer, and being somewhat familiar with the break-in tendencies of Mirage Titanium tweeters, I need something more accurate). And they can look no further than under their roof and down the hall to John Tchilinguirian (of Energy fame). John has designed and implemented IMO some the better dome tweeters and as a matter of fact, Mirage could use the same tweeter from Energy’s C3 (which costs roughly the same per pair) and have a much better Omni! Then again the C3 is direct competition to the Omni and would provide a very interesting comparison
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++
    Actually , I had heard that John , being Ian's protege, had much to do with the omnisats development and I would be very curious to hear what he says about the comparison between the two tweeters considering that API regaurds the PTH tweeter as one of their finest design achievements...
    ...Still a fantastic review, this is what I like about Demoing equipment !!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  9. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    Still, knowing what can be had for the money, the music lover in me needs a better tweeter. I mean a design with this much promise for this little money deserves a more accurate high end (as a drummer, and being somewhat familiar with the break-in tendencies of Mirage Titanium tweeters, I need something more accurate). And they can look no further than under their roof and down the hall to John Tchilinguirian (of Energy fame). John has designed and implemented IMO some the better dome tweeters and as a matter of fact, Mirage could use the same tweeter from Energy’s C3 (which costs roughly the same per pair) and have a much better Omni! Then again the C3 is direct competition to the Omni and would provide a very interesting comparison
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++
    Actually , I had heard that John , being Ian's protege, had much to do with the omnisats development and I would be very curious to hear what he says about the comparison between the two tweeters considering that API regaurds the PTH tweeter as one of their finest design achievements...
    ...Still a fantastic review, this is what I like about Demoing equipment !!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  10. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    John:

    Great review!

    I look forward to hearing your impressions of the Mirage vs. the Gallo Due's.

    Phil
     
  11. John_Charles

    John_Charles Agent

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    Todd,

    Thank you for that info, I had no idea what models would be introduced and their pricing structure!


    Alan,

    Thanks for site with the pics and prices, its nice to see that they didn’t box ‘em in up top!


    Yo Michael,

    First thing first: “This post brought to you by a cheese lovin', beer swillin' Inxsessive 80s fanatical home theater backpacking junky”.

    X-SUH-HUH-HUH-LENT!!! If you ever run for Prime Minister (or anything for that matter), I’ll get my beer swillin’, moose huntin’, hockey breathin’, topless havin’ Ontario friends to he’p yeh out!

    Secondly, thank you for the compliment!


    Matt,

    Very kewl statement about misters Ian and John, their relationship, high frequency products, and wondering about their particular designs... I agree, I would love to find out why they chose the routes they did.

    From the Mirage OM5 back to the M1, it’s been my experience that their high frequencies have been somewhat veiled and slightly lacking in detail. A sentiment that I’ve also read in the press; certainly good, but not “world-class” (to use a trounced-into-the-mud expression). After awhile, one starts to become aware of a given manufacturer’s “house sound”, and those particular traits are among theirs.

    The high frequencies from Energy’s Veritas on the other hand, I feel are comparatively more like the real thing. Along with that, I vaguely remember an article in the high-end audio press stating that it is one of the best high frequency drivers that reviewer has heard – up there with the better Magnepans. Not that I’m tryin’ to pimp audio reviews to speak for my experience mind you (lol), but its certainly an accolade I wouldn’t bestow or ever heard so of Ian’s efforts on the Mirage line; again good, but lacking.

    When John (opting to stay with aluminum instead of titanium domes) first experimented with a cloth surround on his high frequency drivers, it got rid of most of the inherent ringing associated with al-u-minium, yet kept more of the naturalness and detail (if I remember the interview correctly) of the reproduced event intact. From that point, it seems to have been a steady case of refinement.

    Enough rambling, like you said, it certainly would be nice to hear/read their thoughts on these matters.

    To that end, thank you very much for your input, and the compliment on the review!


    Hi Phil,

    I appreciate very much that you liked the coverage on the Omnisat (Now if I could only get a professional gig – I’d be set!); and to that end, I should make the Omnisat/Due’ comparison – sometime this week or early next!

    Warm regards to all,
    JC
     
  12. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    When John (opting to stay with aluminum instead of titanium domes) first experimented with a cloth surround on his high frequency drivers, it got rid of most of the inherent ringing associated with al-u-minium, yet kept more of the naturalness and detail (if I remember the interview correctly) of the reproduced event intact. From that point, it seems to have been a steady case of refinement.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++
    Wow, I thought that Ian had mounted Titanium to cloth FIRST and that Energy used aluminum because it was less expensive , I THOUGHT i RECALLED Ian Paisley commenting that he believed that this was BETTER BECAUSE tITANIUM'S RESONANT FREQ. WAS EASIER TO TAME THAN THAT OF aLUMINUM (excuse bad caps)...and while API shys away from the distinction now, Mirage is their Flagship line.........
    Time to talk with my friends there, I hope I'm not getting my facts confused........I guess it would be easy enough to see when the first products from Mirage came out with the PTH Tweeter vs. the Energy's aluminum tweeter....
    stay tuned whilst I dig!!!!
     
  13. John_Charles

    John_Charles Agent

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    LOL! Matt, you rock. If you find that things are indeed as you recall, then if I EH-VUH find the reviewer of that vaguely remembered article, I’ll make sure that I point him in your direction! It is though interesting that Ian stays with titanium whilst yielding results that are close though noticeably not quite the whole cigar. But your timely response has made me curious as to weigh past Mirage experience with what I heard of the Omni (though not fully broken-in), with what they may offer currently upstream.
    As I haven’t heard any of their top-of-the-line models lately, I wondered if Ian saves his best tweets for those. A common thing yes, but some naturally use the same driver for an entire line. Ergo, I eagerly sought some updated information on one of his current high-end models before I get the chance to listen for myself; to wit, I found this: http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/mirage_om7.htm. Wherein Doug Schneider found: “The nature of the tweeter’s sound is similar to that of the M20 -- clean, extended and precise.” Yet later says: “Next, in terms of the midrange and high-frequency performance, the OM-7 has extremely good clarity and a warm-but-even tonal balance. But it’s not as open and airy as some speakers. It leans to the warmer side, and it is just a tad bit closed in up top. For example, Ani DiFranco’s new Reveling: Reckoning CD [Righteous Babe Records RBR-024-D] has some stunning sound, in particular the simple tracks consisting of mainly voice and guitar. Played through the OM-7s, DiFranco's voice is warm and natural-sounding, but the upper midrange and lower high frequencies are just ever so slightly closed off (not to be confused with rolled off). In short, DiFranco does not soar as freely as with some speakers.”
    To continue from the article: “Finally, the only other strong criticism I can make is in regard to overall resolution. The detail is not as abundant as with some competitors -- and even with Mirage's own MRM-1. For example, with a hyper-revealing speaker, you can hear every last nuance on some of my test discs, but the OM-7s stop just short of that.”
    Though worded differently, this seems to be similar to the impressions I experienced in the Omni; which again is stupid good for the money. It also lends some credence to their current (within a year and a half) “house sound”. Given that, I just wish Ian would wrest a little more detail from his designs. Nonetheless, that’s just a review; the real proof of the pudding comes when I get the chance to compare various Mirage and Energy offerings to learn of their current likenesses and differences.
     
  14. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    John:

    Though the subject of your review was two speakers (actually, 2 pairs) that I have little interest in, I none-the-less enjoyed your story far more than I thought I would, a fact attributable to your wonderful writing style.

    Thanks...

    Larry
     
  15. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    John, them omnisats not being fully broken in definetly played a role in the sound of the tweet not being up to your liking. Perhaps, in the end , you will still prefer the Energy but Mirage speakers are notorius for needing a good break in. I remember when I first purchased and listened to the 0m 10s they didn't sound very good. But after a few weeks and approx. 50 - 100 hours of use it was like a whole new speaker. And the most noticable change was in the tweet.

    Just thought I would throw this in although I know your already aware.
     
  16. John_Charles

    John_Charles Agent

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  17. Jeff Ery

    Jeff Ery Stunt Coordinator

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    I have an old pair of M290(same PTH tweeter) bookshelves and some of my classicly trained musician friends have commented on how fantastic the upper-end detail is , of course these are not BI-(much less Omni)Polar....hey , maybe the perception of "detail" or lack thereof is somehow attributable to the differant kind of imaging. I wonder who could pick up this idea and toss it around
     
  18. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    I wonder who could pick up this idea and toss it around
    ################################################## #######
    Hmmmmmmmmm, good question...maybe I will go looking into this "detail in relation to imaging" query........
     
  19. John_Charles

    John_Charles Agent

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    Round Two: Mirage’s Omnisat Meets Gallo’s Due’

    (Fade in)
    10:30 AM - Ring…ring…ring…
    Ensemble A/V: Good morning, Ensemble.
    JC: Good morning. Do you still have the Omnisats and Due’s in the same room?
    Ensemble: Let me check with one of the sales people. (…pause…) Yes we do!
    JC: Great, what time do you close today?
    Ensemble: 6:00 PM
    JC: Excellent, I’ll be down in a few hours.
    Ensemble: Great, we’ll see you then.
    (Fade out)

    (Fade in)
    Nestled in a conjoined business park, Ensemble - from all outward appearances, gives the impression of yet another forgettable business exterior crammed among a malaise of similarity. Ah, but Bus. 101 reminds: “when hanging your shingle, do so via the most cost effect means, while concentrating on the meat of the matter”. Something the folks at Ensemble have taken in stride, for when entering the premises one is quickly met with a very refreshing and easily pleasing aesthetic. From the pioneer plasma hung behind the nicely appointed cappuccino bar, to their most esoteric theater - everything has a touch of understated class to outright elegance. Nothing screaming at you, no sales drones chomping on alka seltzer tablets feigning illness before they die, or make the next sale (which ever comes first). None of that...

    Interestingly, Business 101 also tutors the willing on good customer relation practices and provides examples of what not to do; enter into the picture my “sales person”. Standing behind the bar was he (whom I’ll refer to as Austere Geoff), talking with two of the other sales folk seated before it, I (the only customer in the store) posed my opening statement to AG as he was the only one facing me at the time.

    JC: Hi, I called a few hours ago about demoing the Omnisats against the Due’s...
    AG: No can do, they’re not in the same room.
    JC: (volleying tit for tat) I didn’t call ahead of time, get confirmation that they were in the same room, then drive 45 miles to hear “no can do”.
    TheOtherSalesGuys: Um Geoff, we can put ‘em in the same room, its no problem.
    AG: Whatever, go ahead.
    JC: (Not happy being lied to weighed against a tight schedule, I meandered about the other rooms for 15 mins - waiting for them to get things sussed, as I checked-in periodically).
    AG: We’re ready.
    JC: (In this particular squarish/small room, a Pioneer Elite RPTV on the “far wall” is flanked by ~ 6’ tall x ~ 21” wide book shelves within which the Due’s are placed horizontally ~ 18” above seated ear level. By contrast, the Omnis were on their stands roughly a foot away from the left and right walls.) Could we put the Due’s on their floor stands so they’re closer in height to the Omni’s?
    AG: (Coldly) Those ARE their stands.
    JC: Whew... K. um, then do you mind if we move the Omnis so that they’re just under the Due’s.
    AG. (Emphatically) Yes. I do mind.
    AG: They have been calibrated to the room in their present positions, and cannot be moved. (Yeah-hah-hahhhrriiiiiiiiiite, they’re worried about transducer/room interactions when they have Due’s placed in bookshelf cubbies... Okay.)
    JC: (Sensing that this carbon-based sack-o-water got his launch stolen and paid hush money too many times in route to elementary school, I then greeted his with equal austerity) Good, then get some tape, mark their spiked positions on the floor and move ‘em. Look, I’m a very busy man and I am not making a 90 mile round trip down here to find things weren’t as your staff indicated, let alone your not being ready once I made the call, to just go back without having done what was already set in motion earlier today.
    AG: Fine. (so he moves them, sans tape)
    AG: How do you want to run them? I WONT run them full range. You can either run them through the subs (small LF Series Mirage’s) on or off.
    JC: Why not?
    AG: Because I DON’T want them blown. (Ouch!)
    JC: Off. (Yeh know, I rarely encounter this level of unprecedented static, but after awhile it became internalized fun to see if he would stay or change his course, once he saw I wasn’t some run-of the-mill yayhoo. Nonetheless, to treat a customer that-a-way just smacked against any sort of productive commerce let alone good will.)
    AG: Fine, here’s the setup… (He goes unto explain that there is an Arcam Alpha 7E upstream from the following two systems):
    ·Pioneer VSX – D811S Receiver feeding the Omni’s
    ·Pioneer Elite VSX – 41 feeding the Due’s
    (He furthers with: “to A/B’em just use this remote and point it at the receiver you want to mute, to hear just the other pair.”)
    JC: Thank you.

    So along with the door closed upon his exit and armed with Loreena, Lyle, Billie, Seal, and music from Stephen King’s “The Stand”, I listened… …And what an interesting test it was… Oh yes for even in the far less than ideal conditions, I was fully prepared to be amazed by the Due’s; what with theirs being heralded as the “world’s finest high frequency transducer” and all; along with certain raves from some of the trade rags about their midrange, but such was not the case. Because with all of the composure of a highly skilled litigant, the Omni’s stated their case to me against the $700 mo’ per pair Due’s, and never balked once.

    The first 45 mins were devoted to track one of The Mask and Mirror, going back and forth to see what each had to offer. Admittedly the Due’s had an ever-so-slight edge on the finger cymbal’s realism. How slight? Okay, on a 10 scale taking into account just the leading edge, camber, and trailing edge of the instrument without accounting for reproduced environment cues (the Due’s were stuffed into cubbies) – if the Gallo’s were a 6.90, the Omnis were a 6.89; 10 being somewhere near the real thing.

    Yeah I know, there are so many variables from mic. to speaker/room (let alone variations within the same instrument type – finger cymbals in this case) to account for, that who can say what’s closer to real and what isn’t. That brings about another interesting aspect to this hobby, for I don’t know of many people who ever get the chance to compare the original live source against a given reproduction of the same event. So, for many on this side of the recording chain, it becomes one of reading up on who has the better recorded sources, auditioning them, compare those to one’s memory of similar live un-amplified events, weighed against possible component/component interactions, and system/room/listener interactions... After that, there’s the material I’ve become comfortable with that provides the cues I’m looking to hear (looking to hear?). While they may not be of reference quality, I duu KNOWS what dey sownd lyyke!

    Ah but there’s more to tell. On the same track I next cued-in on Loreena’s voice along with those of her backup male chorus. As a matter-o-fact, everything I said favorably about the ML’s midrange versus the MO’s in the previous contest could be attributed to the MO’s in this one. Because the unpretentious MO’s more correctly portrayed Loreena’s breathy quality compared to what the Gallo’s simply glossed over. I realize that this is non-conclusive (really, what review is?) due to how the Gallo’s were placed, both sets of speakers being driven by separate receivers, etc. But in my defense, I DID place the Due’s as close to the bookshelf edge as possible without fear of their tumbling forth and AG whoopin’ himself into a post cappuccino-laden froth.

    Nevertheless, I SO-HO-HO wished for the Aerius’ as a control in this room, to compare what I was hearing with this current vintage of Omni. Because rumor has it, that these two contenders had roughly 50 hours of break-in time on ‘em, and in this environment, the Omni’s sounded more resolute than in our previous encounter. So the Aerius’ would’ve helped me discern if it was the equipment, room, these particular speakers further along their break-in curve, or something else.

    But in that set of conditions, it’s safe to say that the Omnisat simply allowed the ear/brain to due much less work than the Gallos; and that was no more evident than on certain cuts from “The Stand”. For herein gentle readers is a musician playing an acoustic slide guitar, where not only did the Omnis comparatively get the strings and dynamics of the instrument, but the body as well. Conversely, the Due’s got the strings all right along with some of the dynamics, but only hinted there may’ve been any body at all. Strange considering that the Due’s are rated at 10Hz lower (no limit specified) than the Omni’s. But once again, that wasn’t the case here, ‘cause the Omni’s went noticeably lower than their counterparts.

    Track 4 on this disc held another telltale litmus test (I can’t believe I’m going to write this), but it was of all things an electronic drum… Through the Due’s this “drum” sounded like a plasticised remnant of what it should’ve been, imparting a foretaste of what I would experience with it’s midrange via more challenging data. For even though it was detailed, there was (for lack of a better expression) a noticeable plastic overlay in the way it reproduced the event. Comparatively, the Omni sounded much more like what I experience in my home rig, except for the Omnis have a better high end than my Sequel 1’s.

    Track 5 brought about sonic relief by way of an acoustic piano. Once again, the little Mirage’s had me and mine do far less work on guessing what kind of instrument was pleasantly gracing the room at the time. The difference between the two was so pronounced as for me to have one of the sales boys check the cabling to make sure the Due’s were in phase, and (shock) according to him, they were.

    Yep-hehhhhh, TYYYYYME for a little reality check-hehhh... Because weighing in at $500.00/pair against the Due’s $1,200.00/pair (both depending on dealer greed), the Li’l Omni’s were stating a far superior case for themselves: “Buy me and get a more natural sonic return whilst saving you 700 BUCKS in the process!” With THAT kinda stash left over, you could possibly get 3 more (depending on with whom you deal) giving a full 5.* setup for the cost of two Due’s alone!!! Or you could make the Misses happy and start a college fund for the kiddies, or a keepsake for her to hit Elisabeth Arden, orrrrrr just save it for more equipment later!!! But when it comes down to it - Sur-vey SEZ: Suh-huh-huh-HERIOUS grinz for the green!!! And not to just experience the sonic bombast in ones favorite A/V fun flicks either, oh no, I mean the chance to also listen to MU-HUH-HUH-ZIC, plain and simple.

    But I was still in the listening room, so I popped outta my mental phfun phfest and decided to listen to various tracks from Billie, Lyle, and Seal to see if I could trick either of the two contenders into producing some sort of boxy/chesty coloration. It is here where the Omni’s gave up a bit of the ghost, and it’s the same thing I heard in Ontario but didn’t make comment (as I was too damn giddy at the time). I’m not sure what to call it yet, so I’ll save judgment until I get back and compare ‘em against the Martin Logans. Even despite this slight aberration, the Omnis were just more able to get out of the way of the event than the Due’s. Furthermore, the Due’s were very upfront and shallow in their ability to cast a stage, as compared to the Omni's wide open spaces. With the Omnisat, one is simply FAR more aware of a surrounding acoustic (at least in this bout) as well as being more keenly aware of where the performers are within it. And while the upper registers of both were immediately comparable, it would’ve taken me the better part of a day to ascertain a clear victor - if one at all.

    In defense of the Gallos, they were constrained by their surroundings, and experience dictates that had they a more open immediate environment, theirs would’ve been closer to reality; alas, such was not the case here. For even though the Gallos were on the “better” receiver and were neck-and-neck in the upper registers with the Omnis, they couldn't come close to the Mirage’s overall performance; and it was from that standpoint, the MO’s simply took off and never looked back...

    Stay tuned...
     
  20. mctague

    mctague Stunt Coordinator

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    As someone flirting with the idea of getting the Omnisats for surrounds ever since they where announced, this is good reading for me. Have you by chance seen the new Gallo that is bigger than their Micro? I noticed an ad for something alittle bigger, but still apparently a single driver, ball enclosure. This will probably be a closer match to Omnisats price wise.

    And on a side note, I saw on another board the Due' tweeters actually discolor due to oxidation (or something like that)....
     

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