My history with Omega goes back to 2009, so the history before that I'll leave alone. I'm writing this from my point of view.
Both Louis and myself feel an explanation should be given to those who have bought Omega or Hoyt-Bedford speakers only to have them discontinued, and to prospective customers considering Omega. Please note: Full warranty still applies to the original owner.
Some have asked, "why has Louis has made so many changes over the years?"
Personally I don't think he has made any more changes than any other speaker company. "Specifications subject to change without notice"
is on many a website and brochure. Louis' reason for change has been to improve the product, and in some cases to streamline production for affordability to the end user.
Those who have criticized Louis for his changes have missed some models that have been on the market for years: The Super 3XRS, the Super Alnico Monitor, and the Super Alnico XRS. These three are core products and have for years enjoyed a loyal following and continue to do so.The Drivers
Most of Omegas changes over the years have been to the cabinets much more so than to the drivers. The original Alnico 8" driver was dropped because Louis realized the Alnico 6.5" was better. He was honest enough to drop the 8" and eat the cost of the large stock of 8s he still had.
The current 6.5" Alnico driver has been in production for years. The RS5, HempCone 4.5", and the Fostex before it all share the same cabinet hole and screw pattern making the cabinets they are in upgradable to the current driver in cabinets going back more than 10 years.
Many companies change their drivers when they change their cabinets. Total obsolescence.
The RS7 is the first all new driver for Omega in years (excluding the Hoyt driver).
NOTE: THE RS5 DRIVER IS NOT A MODIFIED FOSTEX, NOR DOES IT USE A FOSTEX BASKET. THE RS5 IS A "FROM SCRATCH" OMEGA PRODUCT.
Omega speakers are designed and built by Omega in Norwalk, CT, U.S.A.
Even the drivers are made in the U.S.A to Louis' specs and can be had nowhere else than in an Omega speaker. Many speaker companies barely even touch the products that have their name on them, other than to evaluate them and show them at trade shows.The Hoyt-Bedford line
A separate line of affordable speakers that were for direct sale (during a world wide economic slump). They ended up with dealers anyway and were quite popular, especially in Canada. They offered high performance and value and were happy with almost any kind of amplifier.
Why Louis discontinued the Hoyt-Bedford line (which had nothing to do with their excellent build and sound quality):
1) A couple of poorly done, unprofessional reviews did considerable damage to the line and in the global village in which we live, that sort of thing can kill a line. Not to mention almost all reviews are advertiser driven, not market driven, so if a company whose product is being reviewed has no advertising contract with said magazine or review site, their chances of a great review are poor.
2) Selling a direct sell product to dealers made the Hoyt-Bedford line unprofitable to manufacture, and Louis will not consider outsourcing to Asia to bring his margins up.
3) Constant questions as to the difference between Omega and Hoyt-Bedford and the desire to concentrate solely on Omega.
4) Large monitors like the Type 1 are difficult to find worthy stands for. A stand truly worthy of the Type 1 costs not much less than the speaker itself. The Super 3T, Super 3E, and Super 3S
He had finally, after a lot of of work, come out with the RS5 driver to replace the 4.5" HempCone driver, and he wanted all new cabinetry to go with it - start totally fresh. Their design also facilitated easier production and less setup time.
The Super 5 Monitor and Super 3i were sadly dropped, but the Super 5XRS was kept and it's designation reverted back to Super 3XRS. The Super 3T, E, & S, although they sounded great, only enjoyed limited success sales wise, and the Super 3XRS was so astounding with the RS5 driver, that Louis tried the RS5 driver in the Super 3i, and Super 5 Monitor, and it became quite clear it was a mistake to not try the RS5 driver first in these time proven cabinets….so they were re-introduced and the 3T, E, & S faded from the scene.The DIY chapter of Omega
An effort to provide a line of excellent made in America Omega drivers for the DIY community. They were deliberately not his OEM drivers, but offered such good performance, that on a quantitative basis they were just as good - but different. However, Louis realized the amount of support for such a product was overwhelming, and taking his time and energy from the core business, building speakers. After a relatively short and stressful time, he dropped DIY permanently.The Alnico Series
This series was around before I came into Omega and has, but for small changes, remained essentially the same. They have cult status and are good enough to be put in the best systems available. I have one complaint about this series - the price. They are way underpriced, which sadly, in the minds of some, cheapens them. Too bad, they're the losers.The Super 7 Series (version 1)
These grew out of the 7" DIY driver line. The RS7 driver is similar to, but not exactly the same as the whizzer coned DIY version. The first Super 7XRS was essentially a truncated version of the Super Alnico XRS, and the Super 7 Monitor a slightly narrower version of the Alnico Monitor. They were too expensive to build for the paltry price being charged, and they didn't sell well, so they were dropped. The Monitor suffered from the same problem as the Hoyt-Bedford Type 1, suitable worthy stands. They both did however sound incredible.The Super 7 MK2 Series
Louis discovered the RS7 driver works really well with small cabinet volume so he downsized both the Super 7 Monitor and Super 7XRS. They are now designated MK2.
The Super 7 Monitor MK2 can now sit on almost any standard 24" stand. Both the MK2 models are more affordable and less costly to ship.The Super 3 Series
The Super 3 Desktop was a completely new concept for Omega and the smallest speaker Louis has ever produced. Even though other Omegas work extremely well on the desktop,
the Super 3 Desktop was designed specifically for the desktop where it has been extremely successful.
The Super 3i enjoys incredible popularity and is at home in a room, or on a larger desktop. It's basic design goes back about a decade.
The Super 3XRS has (in 3 different iterations) been on the market virtually unchanged (except for driver and port upgrades) for over 10 years and has a cult following.
The Super 3U (ex Super 5) Monitor, although a stellar sounding speaker was not a big seller. When a pair of stands were factored into the price, one is into a Super 3XRS.
The Super 7 Monitor MK2 is the same size but with a broader appeal due to it's ability to work well with more amplifiers than the Super 3U.Subwoofers
The DeepHemp Cube lives on in the deepOmega 8. The only change is it has been made more compact (the 8" driver loves small cabinet volume). It still uses the same plate amp and driver.
The deepOmega 12. It was senseless to continue making the big DeepHemp sub when for just a little more money the new deepOmega 12 can be had, which has proven a great success.
The Hoyt-Bedford sub was very similar to the deepOmega 8. So much so that it became redundant, so it was dropped.The Outlaw and Custom Series
In order to give vent to his fertile and inventive mind, Louis created the OutLaw and Custom series which allows him to experiment with different designs at will without jeopardizing the stability of his main production lines.
If a product can be improved though, it will be, whether it be standard production, Custom, or OutLaw.Things up and coming
Too often Louis has gotten ahead of himself on hopefully up and coming products, only for them to not see the light of day, production wise. However, many of these promised products have actually seen the light of day in the Custom and OutLaw Series.
Hopefully, going forward, product announcements won't happen until the product is in production and on the website.
Thanks for reading.