3i vs. CAM's

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edwardsean

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3i vs. CAM's
« on: 12 May 2021, 07:50 pm »
I'm thinking of moving from my 3is which I really like, to the CAMs.

I want more low end than the 3is, but I've ruled out a subwoofer for my system.

From what I've read it seems like the CAMs are good place to go both for improved overall SQ and more lows. However, I've also read that the highs are not as good as the 3is. Is this accurate or more perception based on the fuller representation of lower frequencies?

Also, if anyone could give me a price range for used CAMs I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

NoDisco

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #1 on: 12 May 2021, 11:57 pm »
I’ve heard both. Sort of. I have the sams. The threes sound nowhere near as natural to me. I have supertweets for a little sparkle. I could live without them. Get an amp with a fair amount of grip un less you like jazz/vocals exclusively. I’m transitioning out of tubes, I think. Class A solid state SE is my next amp if I get one.

pstrisik

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #2 on: 13 May 2021, 12:47 am »
I’ve heard both. Sort of. I have the sams. The threes sound nowhere near as natural to me. I have supertweets for a little sparkle. I could live without them. Get an amp with a fair amount of grip un less you like jazz/vocals exclusively. I’m transitioning out of tubes, I think. Class A solid state SE is my next amp if I get one.

Which are you thinking of?  I know about First Watt, Krell.  Not many more, so I'm curious.

pstrisik

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #3 on: 13 May 2021, 12:53 am »
I'm thinking of moving from my 3is which I really like, to the CAMs.

I want more low end than the 3is, but I've ruled out a subwoofer for my system.

From what I've read it seems like the CAMs are good place to go both for improved overall SQ and more lows. However, I've also read that the highs are not as good as the 3is. Is this accurate or more perception based on the fuller representation of lower frequencies?

Also, if anyone could give me a price range for used CAMs I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

The HO versions of Louis' speakers will give you more low end.  Don't know if he does, or really could do that in CAM size cabinet, but maybe.

I am very partial to the alnicos.  I have his SAM HO over a powered 8" woofer that goes solidly to 30Hz.  It's my avatar pic.  The alnicos are richer, more textured than the ferrites, IMO.  The ferrites have more highs, but I've found that irritating.  The alnicos present the highs realistically to my ears.  Ferrites have felt to me like they were trying too hard. 

......Pete

NoDisco

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #4 on: 13 May 2021, 01:36 am »
Which are you thinking of?  I know about First Watt, Krell.  Not many more, so I'm curious.

Just thinking right now. I’ve heard that the Aegir is a miss. I occasionally see first watt knockoffs for no money that get me curious. I have some A/AB amps that I want to try with a tube pre. Right now I run a tube pre into a NAD 372s power section. Really good.

Nsm1979

Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #5 on: 13 May 2021, 02:27 am »
Check out the Digital Amplifier Company thread here on AC for amplification.  My 2 cents.

pstrisik

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #6 on: 13 May 2021, 03:21 am »
I'll check these out, thanks.  I run a single ended tube amp with tube pre myself and have alnicos.  And a friend who came onto, what look like, 50's Altecs.  Dual horn tweeters, horn mid and four bass drivers!  I have to assume those drivers are alnico.  He runs them off a Denon receiver!  I'm going to recommend something class A for him to try.  I may bring my tube kit down and see how they do with five watts! 

Doody

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #7 on: 13 May 2021, 12:01 pm »
CW is that the SAMs have slightly better bass response than the CAMs (I have CAMs + sub).

I know you've ruled out a sub, but it's honestly game-changing. You may want to reconsider.

G/L,
Doody

seikosha

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #8 on: 13 May 2021, 01:27 pm »
CW is that the SAMs have slightly better bass response than the CAMs (I have CAMs + sub).

I know you've ruled out a sub, but it's honestly game-changing. You may want to reconsider.

G/L,
Doody

I agree with Doody.  The RS5 with a sub is a potent combo.  You can keep everything you like about your 3’s and add the warmth you are seeking.

NoDisco

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #9 on: 13 May 2021, 04:23 pm »
I’m thinking about one of these, but I already have 4 sets of amplifiers. But this costs nothing, practically.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/164105453119?hash=item2635727e3f:g:ibUAAOSwewdfjm~3

seikosha

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #10 on: 13 May 2021, 04:42 pm »
I’m thinking about one of these, but I already have 4 sets of amplifiers. But this costs nothing, practically.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/164105453119?hash=item2635727e3f:g:ibUAAOSwewdfjm~3

I’ve got one of those that I play with for fun in my second system.  It’s a nice sounding amp...very similar to the Pass ACA. 

roscoe65

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #11 on: 13 May 2021, 08:54 pm »
The CAM will be a different speaker.  I owned SAM’s for a while and almost everything about them was better than a a single RS5.  The top end was not as extended, and there was something about the whizzer that bothered me.  I will say the RS5 has a much drier sound than the alnico.

The problem with a subwoofer with a single RS5 is that you need to go well into the midbass to fill in the leanness of the small driver.  This almost required stereo subwoofers.  The CAM has better midbass and lower midrange (100-500hz) which really helps with male vocals.

An alternative is the Super 3HO.  I own a pair of these 1.5 way speakers which are the same size as the CAM and offer improved power handling and midbass punch over the single driver model.  Seriously, it feels like four times the dynamics.  They draw a bit more current than the single driver model, but do well with a few watts.  Dennis confirmed that this speaker can be driven really well by a Dennis Had SEP amp of 5-10wpc.  It sounds like a high efficiency modern speaker.  It lacks the highlighted midrange of most single driver speakers and sounds more balanced if not as immediate.

I would caution the use of SS amps with Omega speakers.  I used a Class AB amp which sounded completely dead.  I’ve used Class T and single ended MOSFET with success.  Tubes of all types work.  In fact, if you are looking to replace single ended tubes with solid state I would instead consider a PP EL84 amp.  It has a lot of SS quickness at about 12-15wpc.

Another point of consideration when using dual driver speakers:  the impedance drops below the cutoff frequency of the second driver.  That means you have a single driver from about 200hz up and two drivers in parallel below that.  Impedance below 200hz is cut in half, but is partially compensated by the normal rise in impedance in the bass.  Just be prepared to be able to provide a but more current in the bass.  This is a problem with amps that double power when impedance is halved; the second driver adds 3 dB below 200hz.  If power doubles into the halved impedance, we will see an additional 3 dB in the bass.  I experience this with a SS amp with the Super 3 HO Monitors.  The midbass became muddy and overwhelming.  I swapped in my 4wpc SET amp and all was right in the world.
« Last Edit: 13 May 2021, 10:29 pm by roscoe65 »

jmolsberg

Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #12 on: 13 May 2021, 09:38 pm »
i'd say roscoe pretty much nailed it. although i wouldn't use lacks, LOL. it gives up a little of the purity but still lives in the midrange. very dynamic speakers as he mentioned.

NoDisco

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #13 on: 13 May 2021, 09:56 pm »
I’ve had all types of amps from muscular SEPs (musical paradise) to Manley snappers to 200 watt SS hooked up to my sams. With and without subs. Each is a bit of a different experience. I do like a bit of tube warmth though, but I don’t necessarily need it in the power section, I’ve discovered.

RDavidson

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #14 on: 14 May 2021, 04:29 am »
Roscoe is pretty spot on. I own CAMs, have owned wide baffle 3HO's as well as 3XRS. I liked them all for their various strengths. Overall I still feel the CAMs are the most balanced of the 3 speakers listed. The 3HO's do have more bass punch over their single RS5 brethren, but I'm still not sure they quite hold their own without a sub better than the CAMs do. The CAMs are fuller. Yes, the highs of the RS5 based speakers are more airy and fast. That is their strength. Note I've used class A tubes (Decware and Inspire) and MANY MANY solid state class A amps (from Pass and First Watt). I will say I agree that class A tube amps are an easier choice that is likely to work well with Omegas. Class A SS can vary moreso, some better than others. Single ended class A is generally the way to go in that regard in my experience. One of the most beautiful amps I've tried with Omegas is the SIT-3. It is dead silent and is just spooky realistic sounding. It's almost like taking a class A tube amp (a SET amp) and lowering the noise floor waaaay down. :o
« Last Edit: 14 May 2021, 04:15 pm by RDavidson »

roscoe65

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #15 on: 14 May 2021, 01:10 pm »
Building on what others have said:

1.  Your musical choices, room, and listening levels will play a large part in the direction you should go.  OP indicated in his original post that he wanted more bass from his Super 3i.  The CAM has more bass than the 3i given its larger driver.  However, as others have indicated this is a more romantic sounding driver.  In my experience, it is easier to add a romantic sound to an “accurate” speaker than it is to gain accuracy with a romantic speaker.  The alnico driver can’t really match the snap of the RS5 driver.

2.  In general, my experience has been:

Single driver models:  much more midrange forward.  The balance is tilted up in the midrange, leading to a lean sounding bass.  This provides great midrange clarity and voices (especially female) stand out from the mix.  Power is limited thermally, and the speaker starts to compress before the power limit is reached.  The single RS5 can’t really do much with more than 5 wpc, although a power reserve is good for transients.  The alnico driver is fuller in the lower midrange and upper bass, but is still a lean sounding speaker that remains dynamically limited.  Neither model is great for a normal room with complex or bass-heavy music.  IMO, these speakers work best in the near field and/or in a smaller room where you get some boundary support.  I have not heard the RS8 driver, but it is alleged to sound like a larger RS5.  An 8” driver can reasonably work well without a subwoofer in the right setting.

Dual driver (HO) models:  As noted before, the extra driver adds more midbass energy as well as at least doubling the power handling.  It works in a larger room at higher output levels and provides a balance similar to modern small monitors, albeit at higher efficiency.  It should be noted that you are not getting more or deeper bass.  Two small full range drivers don’t go any deeper than a single driver.  The second driver adds 3dB to be mid-upper bass, but deep bass will still be MIA.

Single vs. Dual Driver models:  Louis’ line has evolved over the time I’ve been an Omega owner.  If I were shopping these days, knowing what is available, I would move up the single driver line before moving to dual drivers.  From the single driver perspective, the Super 3 XRS and the CAM are the best value propositions from Omega.  As we add the second driver, especially with the alnico driver, the price starts rising and more competition comes into play.

3.  Used pricing:  I’m a big fan of second hand equipment.  Having a healthy secondary market encourages people to upgrade, knowing they can recoup a large portion of their purchase price.  In my experience, the lowest price you can expect to see a CAM or Super 3HO is about $800.  The market goes up and down but it would be reasonable to expect to pick up a pair of CAMs for about $1,000 if you wait long enough.  As Louis raises his prices, expect to see used pricing follow.

4.  Thinking out of the box:  If you have the space and a small amount of skill, the RS5 driver would drop right into a FrugelHorn Mk3.  The flat pack kit (https://www.bigwoodstudio.net/products/copy-of-frugel-horn-lite-kit) is pretty complete.  The rear horn will fill in the bottom end of the driver.  I know that Louis has worked with others in backloaded horns (I’ve seen drivers in Cardersound BLH speakers).

seikosha

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #16 on: 14 May 2021, 01:47 pm »
Excellent post roscoe65.  I guess I could add one more factor to the discussion.  For me, the rs5 is a much more finicky driver than the Alnico.  I can actually make my RS5 sound pretty bad if I put them in a bad room or feed them power from an amplifier they don’t like.  The Alnico drivers are more forgiving and it’s not hard to get them to sound really good.

The rs5s really will reward you when you get the synergy with your amp and room correct.  I’ve got two systems set up in my home.  One is in a dedicated, treated listening room and the other in a regular room (both are small rooms) and boy, the improvement in sound they give going from the conventional to the dedicated room is much greater than I get when doing the same with the Alnicos.  The ferrite models also seem to reveal amplifier differences better than the Alnico.

Anyway, I’ve said it a bunch of times; I can’t pick a “best” as each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and it’s up to each individual listener to decide which one aligns best with their own preferences.

RDavidson

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #17 on: 14 May 2021, 04:37 pm »
Anyway, I’ve said it a bunch of times; I can’t pick a “best” as each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and it’s up to each individual listener to decide which one aligns best with their own preferences.

Exactly. Each model has unique strengths and considerations. I have enjoyed all of them I've tried for their different strengths. I love the RS5 drivers, but feel the CAM's are Louis's most versatile stand-alone offering in sound, size, and placement flexibility. I haven't heard the RS8 based speakers, but they will likely be my next Omegas. If they combine many of the strengths of the RS5 but more bass (more of everything, as many have reported) and one has the floor space...they should be pretty amazing. I'm very curious about them. :D

NoDisco

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #18 on: 14 May 2021, 05:27 pm »
Like anything, it’s how you accessorize. I always thought of my CAMs as being nothing more than my mid range. I got a great deal on some townshend super tweeters and a pair of rel subs. The amps really don’t make huge differences anymore.


OTOH, If these two were mated into an integrated amp, I’d be thrilled. The NAD is almost 20 years old!



edwardsean

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Re: 3i vs. CAM's
« Reply #19 on: 15 May 2021, 11:13 pm »
Thanks guys! This discussion has been enormously helpful. I've been a dedicated headphone user for decades, but I have the opportunity to set up a decent system in my main room.

In that space the music is mostly relaxing orchestral and acoustic genres and some vocal singer/songwriter material. I am loathe to lose any high end snap/sparkle. The upper register harmonic overtone detail is critical for me with this program of music. At the same time, there is a leanness to the sound which I think the CAMs would resolve.

So, this leaves me torn. I wonder if perhaps the best course might just be to add a sub. I would imagine then that the choice of sub and implementation would be key.

I probably should mention, I'll be running these speakers from my Chord rigs, which is why I went high-efficiency in the first place. I'm currently running the 3is from just an upscaled Chord Hugo2. I have a fully decked out Dave system (custom server-Euphony > Optical > Innuos Phoenix > upscaled Dave + custom Sean Jacobs PS, etc.). I may eventually use the speakers with this main system.