Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 4983 times.

FireGuy

Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« on: 14 Dec 2013, 02:23 pm »
For the Omega community - The internet not the resource I'm looking for.

Omega's design is intriguing.  However, given the rather small 4.5" driver, how does the design overcome to deliver adequate (in-room) listening SPL's?  Sounds like there's a trade off somewhere.  Also,  Most manufactures of cone speakers start with a 2-way.  How can Xover-less driver handle the designed frequencies with efficiency?

If this single-driver design is that good, why do most (cone) speaker manufactures start with a 2-way?  Knowing of course they need more power.  Omega's sensitivity ratings are nice btw.

So then, please tell me why I should consider the Super 5's Vs. non single-driver transducers?  I will tell you after some reviews I've read these are on my short list.  Just need some X's & O's to fully understand why.




Canada Rob

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 325
    • Industry Participant
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #1 on: 14 Dec 2013, 06:06 pm »
Hello FireGuy,
What do you have for upline equipment? 
What type of music do you mostly listen to? 
Do you have good stands to put under a high quality monitor such as the Super 5? 

Also, could you clarify this statement: "For the Omega community - The internet not the resource I'm looking for."

DaveC113

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 2178
  • ZenWaveAudio.com
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #2 on: 14 Dec 2013, 06:08 pm »
For me, one of the biggest reasons I like my Omegas is the high frequencies are really nice, the 4.5" driver is a better tweeter than most tweeters and the tweeters I like better tend to cost more for just the part than an entire pair of Omega speakers. Beryllium tweeters and high end RAAL ribbons aren't exactly inexpensive options and that's what it takes to get better high frequency reproduction imo. Then there's also the fact that the highs blend with the rest of the frequencies perfectly and the fact the low end extension is plently low enough to make handing over to a subwoofer for the last couple octaves pretty easy and seamless.

Of course you are right that maximum SPLs and dynamics are limited, but in a small room with the speakers close to your listening position the problem is minimized and I think you'd be surprised at much slam and max volume you can get out of these speakers, it is VERY impressive.

Combined with a good amp, source and cabling you will have a system whose sound quality approaches the best in the world, just on a smaller scale compared to a large, expensive system. So you can get an Omega setup with a small class A or D amp for a very reasonable price. The cheapest multi-way speakers I've heard that compare to Omega are about $4k, and these speakers tend to have higher max volume capabilities so not exactly an apples-to-oranges comparison, but it depends on your priorities (any system has compromises), the music and volume levels you listen to and the space the speakers will be set up in.

The high frequencies of the Omegas are so good I am considering using it in a multi-way setup with a huge 15" JBL pro driver to handle the mid-bass. Blasphemy, I know...  :icon_twisted:

FireGuy

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #3 on: 14 Dec 2013, 09:03 pm »
Hello FireGuy,
What do you have for upline equipment? 
What type of music do you mostly listen to? 
Do you have good stands to put under a high quality monitor such as the Super 5? 

Also, could you clarify this statement: "For the Omega community - The internet not the resource I'm looking for."

Amp AVR is a Denon 1610 which should be plenty for these speakers.  Room is small to medium, mostly 2C.  Boston 10" Sub.  I plan on adding a SET tube amp. prob a Musical Paradise.  Mostly listen to  Symphonic/Alt-Prog metal (female lead singer preferred) and all forms of trance.  Yes, I have good stands,  so support is not an issue.  Lastly,  since I'm interested in this design, finding specific design parameters of the single-driver speaker and why is works so well Vs. other cone speakers that mostly other mfgr's provide is limited.  In other words, if single-drivers are so good, why are there so few companies making them?
 

milford3

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #4 on: 14 Dec 2013, 09:41 pm »
Amp AVR is a Denon 1610 which should be plenty for these speakers.  Room is small to medium, mostly 2C.  Boston 10" Sub.  I plan on adding a SET tube amp. prob a Musical Paradise.  Mostly listen to  Symphonic/Alt-Prog metal (female lead singer preferred) and all forms of trance.  Yes, I have good stands,  so support is not an issue.  Lastly,  since I'm interested in this design, finding specific design parameters of the single-driver speaker and why is works so well Vs. other cone speakers that mostly other mfgr's provide is limited.  In other words, if single-drivers are so good, why are there so few companies making them?

In other words, if single-drivers are so good, why are there so few companies making them?

Great Question Fire Guy!






FireGuy

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #5 on: 15 Dec 2013, 01:37 am »
For me, one of the biggest reasons I like my Omegas is the high frequencies are really nice, the 4.5" driver is a better tweeter than most tweeters and the tweeters I like better tend to cost more for just the part than an entire pair of Omega speakers. Beryllium tweeters and high end RAAL ribbons aren't exactly inexpensive options and that's what it takes to get better high frequency reproduction imo. Then there's also the fact that the highs blend with the rest of the frequencies perfectly and the fact the low end extension is plently low enough to make handing over to a subwoofer for the last couple octaves pretty easy and seamless.

Of course you are right that maximum SPLs and dynamics are limited, but in a small room with the speakers close to your listening position the problem is minimized and I think you'd be surprised at much slam and max volume you can get out of these speakers, it is VERY impressive.

Combined with a good amp, source and cabling you will have a system whose sound quality approaches the best in the world, just on a smaller scale compared to a large, expensive system. So you can get an Omega setup with a small class A or D amp for a very reasonable price. The cheapest multi-way speakers I've heard that compare to Omega are about $4k, and these speakers tend to have higher max volume capabilities so not exactly an apples-to-oranges comparison, but it depends on your priorities (any system has compromises), the music and volume levels you listen to and the space the speakers will be set up in.

The high frequencies of the Omegas are so good I am considering using it in a multi-way setup with a huge 15" JBL pro driver to handle the mid-bass. Blasphemy, I know...  :icon_twisted:

Thanks DaveC.  Good info.  This is the kind of real life testimonial that makes the selection process easier to pare.  I hear real passion for what you experience with Omega.  My other short-list contenders are:  Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1, Maggie MMG,  DefTech Studio Monitor 65 and two towers.   Axiom M50 and Aperion 5T.

Canada Rob

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 325
    • Industry Participant
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #6 on: 15 Dec 2013, 01:39 am »
In other words, if single-drivers are so good, why are there so few companies making them?
To quote milford3, Great question FireGuy. 
To produce a successful single driver speaker is way more difficult than producing a two way speaker, as much more attention has to be paid to driver design, not to mention the cabinet that it goes into.  If it was easy, everybody would be doing it, but the audio industry is driven mostly by the bottom line rather than a passion for good sound, hence multi driver speakers abound because they are easier to make (not that I am saying they are all bad).  Louis at Omega uses his own U.S. made proprietary drivers and hand builds all the cabinets himself, and a lot more goes into them than meets the eye.  Another thing that sets Omega apart is the high efficiency he is getting out of compact designs, making them very SET friendly.  Single driver: harder to produce.  High efficiency single driver: even harder to produce, especially in a compact design.
All his speakers are grossly underpriced.  I have heard many speakers in my long audio career, and the speaker you are looking at should go for about $2500 a pair.  Not having multiple levels of distribution, or full page print ads in Stereophile etc. keeps costs down too.

Concerning amplification, all I can say is you are on the right track thinking about a SET.  The Super 5 will sound good on your Denon, but a good SET or SEP will take things up several notches.  I am not putting down your Denon; it's thing is home theatre which no doubt it does very well at, but for a music application like what you are looking at a SET, SEP, or even a good PP will trounce it.

As far as describing the sound and advantages of the Omegas, DaveC113 said it well enough.....sans his last remark.  Multi-way?.....ugh! :cry:

FireGuy

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #7 on: 15 Dec 2013, 01:53 am »
To quote milford3, Great question FireGuy. 
To produce a successful single driver speaker is way more difficult than producing a two way speaker, as much more attention has to be paid to driver design, not to mention the cabinet that it goes into.  If it was easy, everybody would be doing it, but the audio industry is driven mostly by the bottom line rather than a passion for good sound, hence multi driver speakers abound because they are easier to make (not that I am saying they are all bad).  Louis at Omega uses his own U.S. made proprietary drivers and hand builds all the cabinets himself, and a lot more goes into them than meets the eye.  Another thing that sets Omega apart is the high efficiency he is getting out of compact designs, making them very SET friendly.  Single driver: harder to produce.  High efficiency single driver: even harder to produce, especially in a compact design.
All his speakers are grossly underpriced.  I have heard many speakers in my long audio career, and the speaker you are looking at should go for about $2500 a pair.  Not having multiple levels of distribution, or full page print ads in Stereophile etc. keeps costs down too.

Bingo Canada Rob.    Great narrative as to the virtue with this particular design.  Easy to digest.  My short list get a heck of lot shorter. 

« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2014, 03:03 am by FireGuy »

DaveC113

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 2178
  • ZenWaveAudio.com
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #8 on: 15 Dec 2013, 02:17 am »
Lol, I know... multi-way... but it is true Louis is working on solutions that aren't strictly single driver too.  :green:   When you hear what kind of dynamics you can get out of a 15" mid bass driver at 98 dB sensitivity you will probably get it, but I guess it doesn't matter if you never crank up the volume too high.

FireGuy, Rob is 100% right about the drivers, the speakers are as good as they are because Louis has been working on the drivers for a long time. I have heard many other single drivers, some of which retail for 5 figures and Omega isn't going to be embarrassed by any of them. Everyone that hears my system is shocked by what the little 4.5" drivers can do. Any multi-way speaker you are going to look at anywhere near Omega's pricepoint are going to be hobbled by poor tweeters, crossover components and enclosures. There;s just no way to build a multi way speaker the quality of Omega for anywhere near the price. The cheapest speakers I have heard that compete are Merlin, Odyssey and Prana Fidelity, and they are all $3900 and up. Note they all sell direct to the customer too, if you are looking at the big brands then you're looking at speakers closer to $10k.








FireGuy

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #9 on: 15 Dec 2013, 02:40 am »
Plus, these cost less than the Sierra 1's I'm considering.  I've been with Axiom Audio and their bookshelf line for about six years now.  Their price to performance ratio is simply outstanding.  It appears Omega drives that train too.  Liking it.  Liking it a lot.

milford3

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #10 on: 15 Dec 2013, 02:49 am »
Hello FireGuy,
What do you have for upline equipment? 
What type of music do you mostly listen to? 
Do you have good stands to put under a high quality monitor such as the Super 5? 

Also, could you clarify this statement: "For the Omega community - The internet not the resource I'm looking for."


Go for it FireGuy.  I always love new audio stuff.

milford3

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #11 on: 15 Dec 2013, 02:57 am »



For got the pic.

seikosha

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 39
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #12 on: 15 Dec 2013, 05:13 pm »
My guess for the reason that you don't see more manufacturers doing the single driver thing is that a large part of it is a marketing concern.  It's a hard sell to convince the audiophile community that a single drive can give high quality sound and there is also a push for the widest possible frequency response to report on as well.

I converted to Omegas (Super 3XRS) earlier this year.  Mentally it was a big step and truthfully, I don't think I could have done it if I hadn't gotten a chance to hear them before I took the plunge.  After having lived with them now for 7 or 8 months, I haven't regretted the decision one bit.

What I get with my Omegas is a speed, coherency and a very unbox like sound with the best soundstaging and imaging capabilities of any speakers I've owned.  I have two systems set up, besides my Omega Decware system, I have another that I rotate Kef LS50's and Harbeth P3ESR's in and out of.  I have to say, it's hard to listen to the Kefs and Harbeths after listening to the Omegas.  Both sound slow, boxy and very discontinuous.  It's like you can hear the transition from the midrange to the tweeter and I also hear an odd phasiness with those speakers that the Omegas don't have.  It's common for two way speakers to have the tweeters wired out of phase with the woofers and both the Kefs and Harbeths are designed this way.  It's possible that I can now hear this after living with the Omegas.  Before I owned the Omegas, I never even heard these colorations, now they jump out at me instantly.  When listening to the Omegas I am often reminded of the sound I used to get with some Magnepans I used to have.

I think the true strength of the Omegas though is their ability to let you play them with some of the low powered SET amps.  The advantages of the Omegas really shine through once you start to play them with these types of amps.  With my Class D amp, my Omegas start to sound too lean, but they do sound better with a warmer Musical Fidelity integrated I have, but really, when I play them with either of my two Decware amps, the overall sound really differentiates itself from my other traditional system.  It's been postulated that amplifiers with high negative feedback don't interact well with high efficiency speakers.  My experience seems to support this.

That said, I can understand where the single driver concept isn't for everyone.  Shortcomings of my system and I can easily live with them is that the sound ultimately isn't as big or with the impact of traditional speakers.  After all, this is a single small driver and at the end of the day, it's not going to move as much air as a big multi way system.  For me, it's not an issue, but for others, I could understand how it could be.  I know some people play their music quite loud and for those folks, I'm sure some of them would miss some of the big sound you get from multiple driver setups.  Also, ultimate bass response is limited.  According to my SPL meter, in my room, my Omega's start to roll off right at 60hz.  I'm not a bass freak so it's not a big deal and Louis makes speakers with larger drivers, so as you move up in driver size, this should be come less of an issue.  Don't get me wrong, the Omegas will play loud and with impact, but if you are the type of person that blasts Midnight Oil with 100db+ peaks, you'll notice that they don't have the slam that a comparable well designed two way with bigger drivers has.

Good luck with your decision and let us know how it ends up.


DaveC113

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 2178
  • ZenWaveAudio.com
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #13 on: 15 Dec 2013, 05:45 pm »
seikosha, good job writing and I agree 100%.

I have talked with Louis about speakers that preserve the strengths of Omega's sound while being able to play at higher SPLs with greater dynamics. I'm not sure what he's settled on, if anything yet, but there are plans for a "bigger" speaker. Also, there is now a 7" version of the RS5 driver, the Super 7 XRS was posted in another thread, that will certainly move more air.

Louis is also coming out with a 12" mid bass and subwoofer... I do think it'll be possible to blend a very fast and efficient woofer with Omegas, I have heard it done with a ribbon tweeter which is very "fast" with great results. The 15" mid bass JBLs I just picked up are 98 dB and I think they will pair well, I will probably use an electronic xover to test out the pairing at some point. The woofers are part of a speaker kit, so they come with compression horns as well... it would be cool to be able to use the 15" midbass with both horns and Omegas. But as always, you don't get something for nothing and in this case the biggest tradeoff is probably money, the 15" JBLs are $1k/pair.  :o




Louis O

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #14 on: 15 Dec 2013, 07:53 pm »
Hi FireGuy,

Many thanks for your post and welcome. I really do think that the replies posted are all great and seikosha really nailed it. I used to make mutiway hifi style speakers before single drivers and since making that first single driver I have never looked back. It's the speed, coherence, they way they let go of the note, unboxy way they go about reproducing music.  No passive crossover issues either. Some companies have made single drivers and went multiway HiFi, I won't. They are way to slow.

All my drivers are OEM and designed by me to sound they best in my cabinet configurations. I try my best to get the most out of them.

DaveC113 is absolutely correct and I will be introducing soon the augmented systems with my 12" driver. It's single driver based and will have huge scale and dynamics. It took a while because I don't use off the shelf drivers and had to build my own. It's done now and it will see service in a variety of systems.

Thanks again and more on the way,
Louis

JLM

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 5685
  • The elephant normally IS the room
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #15 on: 15 Dec 2013, 09:39 pm »
Louis,

To one of FireGuy's concerns:  How many watts is this driver rated to handle?


FireGuy,

With your subwoofer, the major shortcomings of a small driver, single driver speaker (lack of deep bass, and ultimate sound pressure levels) have been largely addressed.

Finally the American market is beginning to move from bigger the better/more the better mentality.  As mentioned above the coherence of single driver designs (no crossover phasing issues, no mismatch of drivers near the crossover frequency, ideal point source imaging) can't be touched in multiple drivers (crossing over to a sub at/below say 80 Hz doesn't present this issues).  As mentioned above, once you've heard this coherence everything else is artificial sounding and hard to listen to.  Keep in mind that the driver in a single driver speaker has 'no place to hide' (no crossover, other drivers, and cabinets affect only frequencies below 300 Hz and mostly below 100 Hz), so it'd better be a good one.  Louis spent years driving us crazy making us wait until this driver met his standards.

Moot

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 17
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #16 on: 15 Dec 2013, 09:47 pm »
FireGuy: One of the things no-one has hit on in this thread is Omega's speaker enclosures, which, IMO, are un-matched in quality at this price point! The drivers are important, but it's the cabinet that makes or breaks single-driver speakers, and Louis' cabs (at least the pair I have) are solid, don't resonate at all, are gorgeous, and flawlessly constructed. I have the Super 6 Alnico Monitors. Someone here mentioned that he loves the treble from the single-drivers, and I'll second that! These Omega's have the best high-end presentation I've ever heard.

DaveC113

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 2178
  • ZenWaveAudio.com
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #17 on: 15 Dec 2013, 09:59 pm »

DaveC113 is absolutely correct and I will be introducing soon the augmented systems with my 12" driver. It's single driver based and will have huge scale and dynamics. It took a while because I don't use off the shelf drivers and had to build my own. It's done now and it will see service in a variety of systems.

Thanks again and more on the way,
Louis

That's great news! It's pretty likely I will sell my Super 3 XRS in favor of an augmented system and/or go with a 4.5" monitor to match with the 15" JBLs I got. I'm not going away from single drivers but I would like to have a variety of speakers/amps to test my cables on. The 4.5" driver is a great tool to hear fine detail and really reveals changes I make in cables. I couldn't pass up the deal Nick gave me on the JBLs/4pi speaker kit, it was $750 shipped for $2k worth of parts and is kind of on the exact opposite spectrum of Omega in some ways so will make a valuable addition for cable testing. Those 4pi speakers can hit mid 120 dB peaks and the dynamics are just scary...  :o

FireGuy

Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #18 on: 17 Dec 2013, 01:31 am »
Thank you all for your honest representations addressing my concerns on the single-driver design.  Most candid and appreciated.  I really can't take any exception to any of the points articulated and this helps greatly in the evaluation process.  Unfortunately there is no local dealer to do a road test so your inputs and opinions are a necessity... imo.  I have not doubt of the quality of product just that (initially) the overall design appeared incongruous compared to what's offered by the majority of speaker manufactures out in the market place.  If there's just one hanging parameter, it would be the SPL output.  But, my listening room is small to medium and I'm well past the "blasting" stage.  I want intimacy, definition, smoothness and transparency.  I am not looking past Omega and it looks like I'll be owner of the Super 5 early next year.

JLM

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 5685
  • The elephant normally IS the room
Re: Looking at Super 5 Monitors for 2014
« Reply #19 on: 17 Dec 2013, 02:53 pm »
If you let us know where you live, perhaps someone nearby will volunteer to help you with an audition.