Omega based systems at $1500 and $3000 price points. Your input wanted

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Canada Rob

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John Darko has been doing a similar thing regarding affordable audio and has gotten an incredible response.  My hat is off to him for giving more attention to truly affordable gear than probably any reviewer out there.  So, I thought I'd follow suit, but base it on currently available Omega speakers.  The more of you who chime in, the better.  Links to products are welcome.

Here are the "rules".
1) Only new currently available product and no sale pricing and all pricing in USD or CAD.
2) Current Omega speakers only.
3) Main components excluding speaker wire, USB, interconnects, computer, iPhone, iPad, etc.
4) Speaker stands and audio furniture excluded.
5) Vinyl front ends and CD players welcome.
6) Kits are allowed, but no scratch DIY.

I'll start with one each for $1500 and $3000:

$1500
Temple Audio Bantam Gold Class D amp -------------------------------------------------$350 USD
Resonessnece Labs Herus+ ---------------------------------------------------------------$425 USD
Omega Super 3i in level 1 finish ----------------------------------------------------------$595 USD
Total ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$1370 USD

$3000
Decware Super Zen UFO SET amp (basic) ------------------------------------------------$995 USD
Resonessence Labs Concero HD DAC with Apple Remote and wall power supply ------$900 USD
Omega Super 3XRS in level 1 finish------------------------------------------------------$1095 USD
Total ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$2990 USD

Some might ask what my motive is in this exercise.  It's to try and draw in those who think they can't get great sound without spending $10K, but want to have great sound.  If one looks at most of the show reports, one would think a good system couldn't be had for under $30,000.  With your input we may be able to prove there is a great variety of gear out there for those who can't or don't want to spend the big bucks on a stereo system. 
« Last Edit: 2 Jul 2015, 04:59 am by Canada Rob »

roscoe65

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I'll play.  My approach is getting someone started out into high end audio without overcomplicating their lives.  They likely stream or only use their comuter for music and likely will also use the system for a 2CH home theater.

$1,500:

NAD D3020 DAC/AMP........................$499
Omega Super 7 Monitor.....................$995

If I could get the NAD on sale or open box I would substitute the Omega 3 XRS for $1,095

$3,000

NAD D7050 DAC/Amp.......................$   999
Omega Super Alnico Monitor..............$1,995

I know that this is boring, but the NAD units are really that good (I'm listening to a D3020 right now) with decent DAC's and B&O IcePower chips.  They are warm-sounding and offer a number of inputs, including a nice sounding AptX Bluetooth module and on the D7050 Airplay.

The D3020 will drive the Super 7's to 110dB and the D7050 will driver the less sensitive Alnico Monitor to the same levels.

I've had a lot of audio equipment in my hands over the years and the NAD units set a pretty high bar at an entry level price.  If the bar were set even lower, I would argue that a pair of Super 3i speakers and a D3020 will provide better sound than 99% of systems out there for $1,100.  Hell, even if you sprung for the level 2 finishes you would still come out $100 under budget.

Canada Rob

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Thanks Roscoe,

Great input from a different perspective.  This is exactly what I'm after.  :thumb:

RDavidson

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Just to clear up a small detail : The NAD units use Hypex modules, not ICE. I'm sure people have their own thoughts and opinions on both technologies and respective audio qualities, which Omegas can and will fully display either way.

roscoe65

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Thanks for the correction.  Excellent sounding nonetheless.

DaveC113

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I'd also consider the Sony HAP-S1 music player/amp at $1k. If it's anywhere close to the ES player and amp it will be awesome.


Canada Rob

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I'd also consider the Sony HAP-S1 music player/amp at $1k. If it's anywhere close to the ES player and amp it will be awesome.
Yes, the HAP-51 looks great.  Sony's new bottom of the line Blue Ray players are supposed to be very good too.  What HiFi sure likes them.

roscoe65

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While my recommendation for the $1,500 price point remains unchanged, the $3,000 price point offers a range of choices:

Speakers:  I will stick with the Super 3XRS because they offer a great foundation for almost everything:  $1,100 in Level 1, $1,500 in Level 2.

DAC:  Halide DAC HD:  $465, including both digital and analog cables.  You really have to stretch to beat this one at anywhere near the price new.

Amp:  We are now left with up to $1,440 for an amp.  I would 100% go with a low power SET.  Choices include:

  • Decware Super Zen Triode or Zen Triode Integrated at $1,295 each.
  • Fi X 2A3 amp at about $1,000
  • Custom SE amp by a number of known builders - Sonic Oli (who built my amp) will do a number of amps - 45 or 2A3 - based on a number of respected circuits with first rate parts for $800 - $1,400.

If you come in under budget you can upgrade the finish on the Super 3XRS from Level 1 to Level 2.

btimm

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The average individual purchasing audio equipment is fully aware of the many components available to the consumer that fit any given budget. Common sense would suggest you needn't spend $10,000... Apple has provided millions with great sound in a mere $49.00 Nano including earphones. Many find their budget buys quality components with great sound at Best Buy and other local big box stores.

How do you convey ones modest budget will afford them a quality stereo system when you apply "Rules" restricting speaker stands, speaker wire, interconnects etc. from the conversation? What have you proven? The glass is only half full...
   
With all due respect Canada Rob this forum suggests nothing more than ones preference for Omega Speakers and various components that are echoed daily within the Omega Community.

Bruce

Canada Rob

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The average individual purchasing audio equipment is fully aware of the many components available to the consumer that fit any given budget. Common sense would suggest you needn't spend $10,000... Apple has provided millions with great sound in a mere $49.00 Nano including earphones. Many find their budget buys quality components with great sound at Best Buy and other local big box stores.

How do you convey ones modest budget will afford them a quality stereo system when you apply "Rules" restricting speaker stands, speaker wire, interconnects etc. from the conversation? What have you proven? The glass is only half full...
   
With all due respect Canada Rob this forum suggests nothing more than ones preference for Omega Speakers and various components that are echoed daily within the Omega Community.

Bruce
Hi Bruce,
The average individual is for the most part ignorant of the many components available that are truly good. They may be aware of the mass market MidFi and LoFi gear available in the box stores, but most are often totally ignorant of the gear that is talked about in these forums and in the "audio underground".

Spending $10,000 on a stereo may not be your personal priority and that's fine, but if someone wants to spend that, that's their prerogative and we won't begrudge them.

Apple has not provided millions with great sound, on the contrary, they are largely responsible for millions settling for poor sound.  However, properly set up, the iPod Nano can be a reasonable front end (with separate DAC and amp) for a nice headphone system or a modest stereo system.  The $49 Shuffle (which you are actually referring to) will at best only give mediocre sound.

This thread has had about 500 views in about 24 hours, so it has a lot more exposure than just the Omega community.  Yes, no doubt it will help Omega sales, but part of the goal of this thread is to provide a general resource for affordable gear that's truly good, not just for the Omega community, but for the audio community at large.

Of course this forum suggests preference for Omega speakers, it's owned by Omega Speaker Systems for the purpose of promoting Omega speakers just like Best Buy promotes their products and not a competitors.

I hope some day you try out truly good sound.  :thumb:
« Last Edit: 2 Jul 2015, 04:39 am by Canada Rob »

roscoe65

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My instinctive response would have been to be snarky, but as I get older I am trying to be a more pleasant person.

Simply put:  the average person wouldn't know good sound if it jumped up and bit them in the ass.  Aside from miserable recording quality, compression and the Loudness War, virtually no one under the age of 35 has actually listened to uncompressed (>= 16/44.1) music on a halfway decent system.  Long ago a rite of passage for a young man was to get a kickass stereo.  At best, we now have kids "upgrading" their headphones to a pair of Beats.

When this average person - who doesn't know any better - walks into Best Buy whatever system that is playing in the Magnolia room is automatically the best thing he's ever heard, no matter how good, bad or overpriced it is.  He doesn't know about tubes, high-efficiency speakers, or what a DAC does or why he needs one.  He doesn't know what FLAC or ALAC mean, nor does he know why they are better than the compressed files that allow him to put 3,000 songs on his phone.

I think that this is a great exercise.  There are collectively thousands of years of listening experience here with users who have spent (and often wasted) millions of dollars on audio equipment.

If I were starting over from scratch, I would choose Omega speakers are ones that for the price are least compromised, accommodate the greatest diversity of equipment, and which are unlikely to be the limiting factor in the signal chain.  Rob's imposed limitations were based on reality:  we need a source, an amp, and speakers to play music.  All of us have a computer and at the very least can stream music.  We can cobble together wires and can make do with whatever stands we have or can make.  $1,500 pays for a modest vacation or a darn good starter (or end game) system.  $3,000 buys you a nice road bike or a significant step up.  $10,000 requires you to make a lot more choices because you are less limted.

That being said, this is the orderI would approach this:

- Buy a pair of Level 1 Omega Super 3XRS and cheat and spend the extra $100 to get an NAD D3020  Scrounge some cheap wire.  For most people this will be all you need.  ($1,600)

- Buy a Decware Super Zen Triode Select.  Run this off the preamp output of the NAD.  Add a decent ($100) speaker cable.  We are now up to $3,000.

- Replace the NAD with a decent DAC.  A Halide DAC HD runs about $500.  We could always sell the NAD for about $300 or so, but we'll assume we're keeping it for another use.  We can also upgrade to Zenwave speaker cables now ($300) for a total of $3,800.  At the same time we can add some higher end music playback software ($200) for a total of $4,000.

-  Add an Omega Deepomega 12 in Level 1 finish ($1,500).    We have now spent a total of $5,500 and have a simple system that will destroy most "audiophile" systems.

- We can now contemplate the Next Step:  we have $4,500 to get to the $10,000 mark.  This will depend on your preferences, but for me it would mean adding another DeepOmega 12 ($7,000 total) and the $2-3,000 DAC of my choice (I'm not shopping in that price range so don't have any current preferences) and if I have money left over would upgrade cables.  Alternately, we could subsititute Alnico XRS speakers for the Super # XRS and spend less money on a DAC or even stick with one subwoofer.  AT this price range personal preference becomes a significant factor, as does the secondary market.

DaveC113

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Good post roscoe... at $10k you can have a system that won't be embarrassed by any system at any price.

I'd go with the Sony HAP-Z1ES music player for a source at $2k, a big SET amp with 211, 845, etc tubes at $3-5k, whatever Omegas float your boat + two Speed 12 subs.




btimm

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Canada Rob,

How "ignorant" of you believing I haven't tried out truly good sound…

Bruce

GentleBender

Canada Rob,

How "ignorant" of you believing I haven't tried out truly good sound…

Bruce
Why are you here trolling? You don't have to be a part of this discussion. I've done the big box store purchases in the past and was not happy with the results, YMMV. Why can't we discuss what works for us without you coming in here to ruin it? Please move along to find a thread you like.

Ultralight

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Alternatively, for $10K, one can just get a Alnico XRS and a Vinnie Rossi Lio and have substantial change left over for cables and room treatment to bring it up to $10K.   I've not heard either....yet.... but both seem to claim high return for the dollar.


My instinctive response would have been to be snarky, but as I get older I am trying to be a more pleasant person.

Simply put:  the average person wouldn't know good sound if it jumped up and bit them in the ass.  Aside from miserable recording quality, compression and the Loudness War, virtually no one under the age of 35 has actually listened to uncompressed (>= 16/44.1) music on a halfway decent system.  Long ago a rite of passage for a young man was to get a kickass stereo.  At best, we now have kids "upgrading" their headphones to a pair of Beats.

When this average person - who doesn't know any better - walks into Best Buy whatever system that is playing in the Magnolia room is automatically the best thing he's ever heard, no matter how good, bad or overpriced it is.  He doesn't know about tubes, high-efficiency speakers, or what a DAC does or why he needs one.  He doesn't know what FLAC or ALAC mean, nor does he know why they are better than the compressed files that allow him to put 3,000 songs on his phone.

I think that this is a great exercise.  There are collectively thousands of years of listening experience here with users who have spent (and often wasted) millions of dollars on audio equipment.

If I were starting over from scratch, I would choose Omega speakers are ones that for the price are least compromised, accommodate the greatest diversity of equipment, and which are unlikely to be the limiting factor in the signal chain.  Rob's imposed limitations were based on reality:  we need a source, an amp, and speakers to play music.  All of us have a computer and at the very least can stream music.  We can cobble together wires and can make do with whatever stands we have or can make.  $1,500 pays for a modest vacation or a darn good starter (or end game) system.  $3,000 buys you a nice road bike or a significant step up.  $10,000 requires you to make a lot more choices because you are less limted.

That being said, this is the orderI would approach this:

- Buy a pair of Level 1 Omega Super 3XRS and cheat and spend the extra $100 to get an NAD D3020  Scrounge some cheap wire.  For most people this will be all you need.  ($1,600)

- Buy a Decware Super Zen Triode Select.  Run this off the preamp output of the NAD.  Add a decent ($100) speaker cable.  We are now up to $3,000.

- Replace the NAD with a decent DAC.  A Halide DAC HD runs about $500.  We could always sell the NAD for about $300 or so, but we'll assume we're keeping it for another use.  We can also upgrade to Zenwave speaker cables now ($300) for a total of $3,800.  At the same time we can add some higher end music playback software ($200) for a total of $4,000.

-  Add an Omega Deepomega 12 in Level 1 finish ($1,500).    We have now spent a total of $5,500 and have a simple system that will destroy most "audiophile" systems.

- We can now contemplate the Next Step:  we have $4,500 to get to the $10,000 mark.  This will depend on your preferences, but for me it would mean adding another DeepOmega 12 ($7,000 total) and the $2-3,000 DAC of my choice (I'm not shopping in that price range so don't have any current preferences) and if I have money left over would upgrade cables.  Alternately, we could subsititute Alnico XRS speakers for the Super # XRS and spend less money on a DAC or even stick with one subwoofer.  AT this price range personal preference becomes a significant factor, as does the secondary market.

Canada Rob

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Let's try and stay in the two price categories mentioned: 1.5K and 3K.  Thanks.

btimm

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Why are you here trolling? You don't have to be a part of this discussion. I've done the big box store purchases in the past and was not happy with the results, YMMV. Why can't we discuss what works for us without you coming in here to ruin it? Please move along to find a thread you like.
Please refrain from assuming that I am here trolling because there is a difference of opinion! I have not purchased nor do I own anything audio from a big box store… Should a difference of opinion ruin it for you, possibly you needn't be a part of this discussion.

I have been following the Omega forum for almost two years, giving serious consideration in purchasing either the Super 7 Monitor MK2 or Super Alnico Monitors. Please exercise your option to read my inquiries and or comments under my profile.

Contrary to your claim… I will not move along.
« Last Edit: 2 Jul 2015, 04:29 am by btimm »

roscoe65

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At the $3,000 price point I would offer:

iFi Retro 50 - $2,000
Omega Super 3i in Level 2 finish - $900.

We have an extra $100 left over.  Maybe a bottle of Phelps Insignia?



Canada Rob

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Super 3i level 2 finish ---------------------------------------------$895 USD
Deep Omega 8 Level 2 finish ------------------------------------$1150 USD
Glow Audio Amp One (which includes separate DAC) -----------$880 USD
Total --------------------------------------------------------------$2925 USD

This system would be amazing in sound and looks.  I've had this combo (actually with the DeepHemp Cube which was almost identical), but with the Super 3 Desktops instead.  Will work on the desktop or in a room.

ozoid

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I'll play too, especially since I've just acquired gear just slightly past the $3k point. The Alnicos shipped today with expected delivery on Monday!
Super Zen UFO: $995
Super Alnico Monitors: $1995
Meridian Explorer v1 DAC (remarkably musical and still available, at least at Audio Advisor): $150