KEF LS50 and Audience The One compared to Omega 3i or Omega 3 Desktop

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Flinx99

Hi.  This is my first post here.  I stumbled on this site after reading some comments about Omega desktop speakers that really have me intrigued.  I currently own a pair of B&W 686s (first version) that I have had for a few years and I am interested in upgrading.  I have been slowly upgrading other parts of my system and these are hopefully the last piece.  I used to run them through an entry level Pioneer Elite AVR with an Infinity sub and because I ran them as desktop speakers, I was always in the sweet spot and thought I had an awesome sound going.  At least until I upgraded my computer.

I upgraded my computer to a Surface Pro 3, which has no digital out and an arguably terrible DAC onboard.  I previously ran optical out from my motherboard to the Pioneer Elite and I was totally happy.  When I started running from the headphone jack to the AVR, I thought the sound was definitely downgraded, so I started researching my options.  I figured there had to be a USB solution and I found out about the Musical Fidelity V-Link. I also stopped by a local hi-fi store to see if they had any options and they actually had a used Musical Fidelity lying around  that they let me take home and demo.  This device let me output and convert a digital signal from the USB port of my SP3 and give me the choice of either optical or coax digital out to my AVR.  Perfect.  I went back to the store and bought it.

By this point, I had also upgraded my media player from Winamp to JRiver Media Center 20. This could see the V-Link directly and let me choose it as an output.  It also does a better job at organizing albums than Winamp (Winamp is still great as a streaming media option, though, and the basic version is free).  The owner of the store let me run my SP3 through one of his setups and we listened and talked music.  The system consisted of an Acoustic Research DAC and Acoustic Research AMP running Wilson Audio speakers that are about 300 lbs each and as tall as my 7 year old daughter. I was very impressed.  Definitely a Will-o-the-Wisp system for me, but I've been chasing that sound since then.

The weakest link in my system seemed to be my sub.  I had this weird sound in the high-bass frequencies, so I upgraded that from an Infinity P-8 to a Rel T-9 at the suggestion of the owner of the store.  Great sub and it really did improve my sound--- no more LFE inputs on subs for me.  The weird sound was reduced, but not eliminated.

I figured a DAC would be my next upgrade at a later date, so I did a little reading to find out if the DAC in the Pioneer Elite was decent or not.  I also found out that my B&W 686s were not very efficient and seemed to need a decent amount of power to really output to their potential.  Then I landed on Music Direct's website and saw they had a Winter Clearance sale going on. I found bundled set made up of a Musical Fidelity M1 SDAC and M1 PWR amp that were marked down about 75% when purchased together.  I also saw a set of Focal bookshelf speakers marked down from $1,500 to something close to $500, I think.  Those went really fast and ceased to be an option.  I then figured the MF package wouldn't last long either.  I showed my wife that they were marked down 75% and she surprised me by not only admitting that it was a good deal, but by not being completely against the purchase.  I mentioned that they had no interest financing and when she said don't do that rather than don't even think about buying them, I knew I had her blessing.  I still waffled and when she asked me a couple of days later if I'd ordered them yet, I said soon, and ran upstairs to my computer.  :  )

I went to the site and looked up Musical Fidelity, only to find another package deal.  For an additional $200, I would forgo special interconnects for an additional M1 PWR amp.  Why in the world would I need two amps?  Then I read about monoblocks.  The M1 PWR outputs 60 wpc in stereo mode, but 100 wpc in mono mode.  Well, I figured if my speakers really needed power, this should do it.  I ordered the package and when I hooked it up, it sounded like I bought new speakers.  What a huge difference.  I've been into music and audio equipment since I was in high school, but I have to admit that I'm new to hi-fi. I now have an understanding of what soundstage means.  I have done a lot of reading since buying the MF package, but I still think it's a good deal, especially if you're starting from scratch.  I think the package is still available.  So much for rushing because I was worried they would run out.  I learned that when you run in mono mode, both sets of binding posts output the same signal and I had extra speaker wire, so I biwired the B&Ws for the heck of it. I honestly can't say that I noticed a difference, but it makes logical sense to me, based upon my limited knowledge.

After all this, the weird sound didn't go away.  From what I can figure out, it's caused by early reflections from my desk.  I've been trying different placement configurations to try to reduce the reflections and it has helped a bit.  I currently have them raised up rather high, so I've turned them upside down to get the tweeters close to ear level.  I think I've got them up about 24 inches off my desk, angled down slightly with no toe-in.  The room itself is roughly 14x28 and my desk is at one of the narrow ends, set to the left a bit and the speakers are about a foot or so from the wall.  Moving the desk isn't really an option. 

If anyone listening to speakers with a nearfield set-up wants to see if they can replicate the sound I'm hearing, a good test is in the song, Siberian Khatru, by Yes.  Roughly 3:30 seconds into the song there is an extended note from an electric bass that resonates oddly.  If you listen with headphones, you won't hear the resonance.  I had a friend of mine listen to the song on his Audioengine A2s in nearfield and he could hear the same resonance.  I would like to upgrade my speakers to improve my overall sound and a great side effect would be getting rid of this reflection issue (if that's what it is), but I'm not sure if better speakers would make a difference with the resonance.  I tried switching to a pair of Paradigm Atoms that I use on my wife's computer, but I heard the same sound.  I just don't know what will happen if I go up in quality.

When I started looking for nearfield speakers, I came across KEF's LS50s (@ $1,500), then I read about Audience's The One (@ $1,000), and finally, I read about the Omega 3is or desktop speakers.  I wasn't looking for single driver speakers with no crossovers, but this is where my research has brought me.

Does anyone hear have any experience with the LS50s or The Ones and the Omega 3?  Honestly, the Omega 3is or desktop might be the best sounding speakers of the three going by what I've read and my budget would be very thankful for that.  Also, would a single driver set-up have any impact on early reflections?

Thanks, especially if you made it this far.

Jim






Canada Rob

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Hello Flinx99,

Welcome to the Omega AudioCircle.  Sounds like quite a journey you've been on.  Years back I was on a similar journey, until I discovered Omega speakers and low/flea powered high quality amplification.  I've never looked back and that was 6 years ago.  I went from hi-fi music reproduction to live music - a night and day difference.

Siberian Khatru, by Yes @ 3:30 definitely has a problem, not your gear.  Like many rock recordings of the 70s, the sound quality is not great and not something to judge your system by.

I've not heard the Audience speakers, but I've heard the LS50 up against the Super 3i.  The amp I used was a 22w/ch gain clone which admittedly was a poor match for the KEFs and a good match for the Super 3i.  It was no contest, and I think even if the KEF had a 100w/ch high current amp in front of it (which no doubt would have improved it) the gap wouldn't have totally closed.  The KEF sounded slow, tubby and thick compared to the Super 3i which had electrostatic speed and was so transparent.  The soundstage was also no contest, the Super 3i bringing so much more of a live presentation, not to mention room (big room) filling sound.

The Omega, KEF, and Audience, would be better than your B&Ws on the desktop, being single point source speakers.  The closer your ears get to your B&Ws the worse the phase misalignment becomes due to the drivers being mounted on different locations on the front baffle.  Single driver and Dual concentric don't have this issue.  The Omega Super 3 Desktop with it's downfiring port and uptilted cabinet would likely trounce the KEF and Audience.  The Super 3 Desktop is made specifically for the desktop - it's not a jack of all trades, but a master of one, the desktop.  See this review: http://headphone.guru/omega-super-3-desktop-speaker/

Are you aware the KEF LS50 @ $1500 and Audience @ $1000 are both likely built in Chinese sweat shops at about 1000% profit when for $1500 one can get a pair of true craftsman made in the USA Super 3 Desktops AND a deepOmega 8 sub?  No contest.  Not even close.  Check out this thread: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=133826.0

Lastly, look at the efficiency of the Omegas at 94.5dB and no crossover, the KEFs at 85dB with power sucking crossover, and the Audience at 84dB and no crossover.  The higher efficiency of the Omega RS5 driver make it suitable for amplifiers with as low as 2w/ch (or less on a desktop).  Virtually any amplifier won't break a sweat on the Omegas, the result being increased dynamics particularly at low volumes.  Speaker designs like the KEF and Audience will likely need more volume to get their dynamics really flowing - not a good thing on the desktop where high volume levels are generally not needed or wanted.




jk@home

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I"m using LS50s, but not in a desktop setting, although some folks do.  I've never experienced, or read of anyone else experiencing the sound of the KEFs as " slow, tubby and thick". If anything, they are a lean speakers that needs a warm amp. The back ports can be plugged with half and full plugs, to tune the bass response.

You need to audition both speakers. KEFS can be bought off of Amazon, with a 30 day trial period.

Canada Rob

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Thanks for the input jk@home.  The comparison between the LS50 and Super 3i was done in my place on my system.  Like the LS50 the Super 3i also prefers a warmer amp.  No two way speaker I've heard can match the speed of the Omega RS5 driver.  Due to the weight difference there is no physical way the 5.25 inch magnesium/aluminum rubber surrounded driver of the KEF can match the speed of the 4.5 inch paper/fiber cone fabric surrounded RS5.  The Super 3i will work up against a rear wall or out into the room depending on the setup.  The Super 3i can also be had for a 30 day trial in the USA and they're only $595 and not $1500.  When you get to $1500 in the Omega line, you're into the Super 3XRS level 2 finish, Super 7 Monitor MK2 level 2 finish, and Super 7XRS level 1 finish, and with these you'll be embarrassing speakers in excess of $5000.   
« Last Edit: 12 Apr 2015, 01:34 am by Canada Rob »

DaveC113

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RDavidson has the LS50s and owned the Super 3 XRS, he plans on getting the Super Alnicos sometime after a move... he will probably respond soon, if not you can send him a pm.

For a desktop setup I think the Omegas are likely to work better.

On early reflections, single drivers have a narrowing response as frequency rises, so high frequencies have limited dispersion, or are more focused... this does result in a speaker that is easier to deal with wrt 1st reflection points. I'm NOT saying you shouldn't treat 1st reflection points, you should...  The KEF's cone does act as a waveguide for the tweeter to some degree as well, it's effect is also determined by cone diameter so it will be better than a speaker with a conventional wide-dispersion dome tweeter.

RDavidson

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Dave is correct. Please feel free to PM me if you'd like to talk about details of my experience.

You can now put the LS50's on my owned (past tense) list. I sold them 2-3 weeks ago. Their size, versatility, and culmination of strengths are great, but as I continued sorting out my gear and systems, the KEFs have a glaring flaw preventing them from being used in a secondary system (in a high traffic area) where they'd eventually be relegated. Their exposed drivers are just an accident waiting to happen. The last thing I want to deal with is kids or guests touching my speaker drivers or worse. :nono:

As Dave pointed out, I'm going to get Alnicos at some point. After owning the 3xrs, my mind is made up regarding what speakers are going into my main system. Note, I listen nearfield (but not desktop nearfield). Something worth mention is that Louis's customer service is second to none. His attention to detail and desire to please his customers might make one think they're paying $10k + for Wilsons or whatever. This is coming from a guy who bought his 3xrs on the used market too. :thumb:

roscoe65

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Although this is an Omega Loudspeakers Circle, I may be able to offer some different perspective.

I have a number of different systems at work and at home.  One on my desktop, two in a small dedicated listening room, and one in the living room that is a jack of all trades and which spends most of its time providing TV sound.  My amps are single-ended triode, NAD D3020, Tripath, and classic Kenwood integrated.

OP seems to be jumping in with both feet down an expensive path.  If I were in his position, my choices would be:

1.  NAD D3020.  This $500 all-in-one device is the single biggest bargain in mainstream Hifi today.  It outputs clean, adequate power, sounds great, has a full range of digital inputs, AptX Bluetooth, analog input, and a headphone amp.  Connect this via USB tothe MS Surface 3 and you are only missing speakers.

2.  Single-driver speakers.  Omega's are obviously the preferred choice around here and I know from personal experience that the RS5 drivers will work wonderfully with the NAD.  The GR Research LGK is another great option, but I think the Omega will take you further.

3.  Isoacoustics Speaker Stands.  These run about $80 a pair and will change your mind about stands.  They take your desktop reflections out of the equation and allow you to tune the speaker height perfectly.

4.  Add some decent cables and desktop acoustic traetment.  No need to go crazy but just because it is your desktop doesn't mean it isn't a legitimate listening environment.  You are essentially creating a near field studio monitor setup.

All told you are now into this for about $1,300.  If you then add a sub you're up around $2,100 and you would have to spend a lot more time and money to dramatically improve this experience.  You also have components that can be reconfigured away from the desktop as your needs or tastes evolve.  The Omegas can easily transition to stand or credenza mount driven by tubes and I imagine the NAD would make a very rocking system driving a pair of vintage Klipsch speakers.

seikosha

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I've owned the LS50s at the same time as My Omegas.  I've since sold the Kef's.  Really it comes down to the single driver sound.  If you appreciate it, you'll prefer the omegas.  In comparison, the omegas are more coherent, image better and are more dynamic and faster.  The Kefs will play louder and probably sound like they have lower bass, but over time you might realize that You are just hearing a typical bass bloat on the kefs that is not there with the omegas.

IF you compare the omegas to the kefs on a conventional amp, the advantages of the omegas may not come through as starkly.  It's when you start playing with some of the Low powered tube amps where for me, the omegas really pull away.

RDavidson

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Very much agree. The KEFs like some current to come alive. At lower volumes they can actually sound a bit thin. For me, that's a major advantage of Omegas. I listen nearfield and at moderate volumes the majority of the time. The Omegas don't need a lot of power (or turning the volume knob up) to sound right (balanced). They definitely are more coherent and phase correct (image better) than the KEFs......which is interesting because if you read reviews, the KEFs are superior to A LOT of speakers in this regard. Note, I'm using Pass amps.

Flinx99

Hello Flinx99,

Welcome to the Omega AudioCircle.  Sounds like quite a journey you've been on.  Years back I was on a similar journey, until I discovered Omega speakers and low/flea powered high quality amplification.  I've never looked back and that was 6 years ago.  I went from hi-fi music reproduction to live music - a night and day difference.

Siberian Khatru, by Yes @ 3:30 definitely has a problem, not your gear.  Like many rock recordings of the 70s, the sound quality is not great and not something to judge your system by.

I've not heard the Audience speakers, but I've heard the LS50 up against the Super 3i.  The amp I used was a 22w/ch gain clone which admittedly was a poor match for the KEFs and a good match for the Super 3i.  It was no contest, and I think even if the KEF had a 100w/ch high current amp in front of it (which no doubt would have improved it) the gap wouldn't have totally closed.  The KEF sounded slow, tubby and thick compared to the Super 3i which had electrostatic speed and was so transparent.  The soundstage was also no contest, the Super 3i bringing so much more of a live presentation, not to mention room (big room) filling sound.

The Omega, KEF, and Audience, would be better than your B&Ws on the desktop, being single point source speakers.  The closer your ears get to your B&Ws the worse the phase misalignment becomes due to the drivers being mounted on different locations on the front baffle.  Single driver and Dual concentric don't have this issue.  The Omega Super 3 Desktop with it's downfiring port and uptilted cabinet would likely trounce the KEF and Audience.  The Super 3 Desktop is made specifically for the desktop - it's not a jack of all trades, but a master of one, the desktop.  See this review: http://headphone.guru/omega-super-3-desktop-speaker/

Are you aware the KEF LS50 @ $1500 and Audience @ $1000 are both likely built in Chinese sweat shops at about 1000% profit when for $1500 one can get a pair of true craftsman made in the USA Super 3 Desktops AND a deepOmega 8 sub?  No contest.  Not even close.  Check out this thread: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=133826.0

Lastly, look at the efficiency of the Omegas at 94.5dB and no crossover, the KEFs at 85dB with power sucking crossover, and the Audience at 84dB and no crossover.  The higher efficiency of the Omega RS5 driver make it suitable for amplifiers with as low as 2w/ch (or less on a desktop).  Virtually any amplifier won't break a sweat on the Omegas, the result being increased dynamics particularly at low volumes.  Speaker designs like the KEF and Audience will likely need more volume to get their dynamics really flowing - not a good thing on the desktop where high volume levels are generally not needed or wanted.

Thanks for the welcome Canada Rob.  The journey has been a fun and educational one so far.

The issue with the Yes song was an unfortunate discovery---I was expecting so much more from this album in terms of SQ.  Close to the Edge is one of my favorites.

Phase misalignment hadn't occurred to me.  If I listen to the Yes song previously referenced on headphones, the sound is normal.  If I listen from across the room, it's also normal.  This and a great comment I came across on another forum is what had me thinking mid-range early reflections.  I never thought that the two drivers could conflict in a near field space.

Room filling sound is what I'm looking for----I want to capture a large soundstage and scale it down to the desktop, if that makes sense.  When not in the office and dependent on earphones, the only realistic opportunities for listening to music are when I'm on my computer, either working,just catching up on the news, or reading up on this new hobby.

I live in Texas, but I grew up in Vermont.  I would be quite happy to buy speakers designed and crafted in New England.  I really like my Rel sub, so I'm not sweating the low end.  I actually like the idea of the Super 3s potentially rolling off a bit higher on the bass so I can creep up the crossover point on my Rel.  I run it around 50 hz now to avoid conflicts with my bookshelfs. 

I think I'm OK with power, either way.  I can continue with monoblocks, but it sounds like if I go with the Super 3s (still would have to land on the version, but that's a later decision), monoblocks would be overkill and I could shift an amp onto my wife's computer.  Waste not, want not.

Thanks again for the welcome.

Flinx99

I"m using LS50s, but not in a desktop setting, although some folks do.  I've never experienced, or read of anyone else experiencing the sound of the KEFs as " slow, tubby and thick". If anything, they are a lean speakers that needs a warm amp. The back ports can be plugged with half and full plugs, to tune the bass response.

You need to audition both speakers. KEFS can be bought off of Amazon, with a 30 day trial period.

Thanks for the input.  Honestly, WAF (is the acronym for Wife Approval Factor universal enough to avoid defining?) is a key issue here.  If start ordering speakers with the idea of demoing in them in house, she might have me committed.  I think I'm going to have to make my purchase based upon an amalgam of the experience of others.  It sounds like (ha---no pun intended) that near field listening on the desktop, while probably universal, is not an area where many people sink their money.  The family area is for TV and movies and while I appreciate that sound makes a huge difference in that space, I would rather invest in where I will listen to music.  I've got surround sound in the family area and the sound blows away the TV speakers, which isn't difficult.   

RDavidson

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+1 I also share your EXACT sentiments.

Music system = most important
Family room system = medium importance
Desktop system = least important  (not a slight at those with serious desktop / headphone rigs)

jk@home

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3.  Isoacoustics Speaker Stands.  These run about $80 a pair and will change your mind about stands.  They take your desktop reflections out of the equation and allow you to tune the speaker height perfectly.
 

2nd these. I'm using them under the LS50s (actually have Isolate-it Sorbothane semi-spheres attached to underneath the KEFs, and they in turn fit great into the top "cup" mounts of the Isos). All this sitting on 24" stands.

Now the one time my KEFs did sound boomy was when I tried spikes between the speakers and stands, coupling the two together. So little tweaks like this can help alot.

Thanks for the input.  Honestly, WAF (is the acronym for Wife Approval Factor universal enough to avoid defining?) is a key issue here.  If start ordering speakers with the idea of demoing in them in house, she might have me committed.  I think I'm going to have to make my purchase based upon an amalgam of the experience of others.  It sounds like (ha---no pun intended) that near field listening on the desktop, while probably universal, is not an area where many people sink their money.  The family area is for TV and movies and while I appreciate that sound makes a huge difference in that space, I would rather invest in where I will listen to music.  I've got surround sound in the family area and the sound blows away the TV speakers, which isn't difficult.

I hear ya regarding the WAF. I have to tread lightly myself.  I've kinda combined the whole music room vs desktop system thing. My listening  position in my 2 channel room is at a desk with a office chair, PC display, etc. against the back wall. For serious listening, I just roll the chair more into the room and grab an ottoman for a foot rest. If I'm really serious, I'll place a couple of diy 2' x 2' absorber panels on top of the desk, to catch the back reflections.

The room is suppose to be a home office, again, see WAF. :green: The family PC downstairs has some inexpensive specific PC brand speakers, won't go there here.

Flinx99

+1 I also share your EXACT sentiments.

Music system = most important
Family room system = medium importance
Desktop system = least important  (not a slight at those with serious desktop / headphone rigs)

I'm with you on the exposed drivers on the LS50s---my daughter and one of our cats showed particular interest when I did a short test drive of my current speakers without grills.  The design looks like it might put up with poking and prodding fingers, but probably not claws.

I'm glad to hear that Louis has a high regard for customer service----that is very important to me.  I think it's great that he posts here and it makes me think I'm buying a piece of functional art.  I'm excited to read that Super 3s may surpass the LS50s purported ability to present better than even costlier speakers.

Regarding desktop near field listening:  a unintended benefit has been Tidal, which became available in the US right around the same time I started on my upgrade path.  I can run it through JRiver Media Center 20 and it sounds fantastic.  I've been scouring forums and websites for examples of recordings with good soundstage and imaging so that I can learn what my system can do and I've been able to use Tidal to listen to the examples I find.  I've been surprised at my success and this is with full albums in lossless quality, not just 30 second compressed samples. 

Flinx99

2nd these. I'm using them under the LS50s (actually have Isolate-it Sorbothane semi-spheres attached to underneath the KEFs, and they in turn fit great into the top "cup" mounts of the Isos). All this sitting on 24" stands.

Now the one time my KEFs did sound boomy was when I tried spikes between the speakers and stands, coupling the two together. So little tweaks like this can help alot.

I hear ya regarding the WAF. I have to tread lightly myself.  I've kinda combined the whole music room vs desktop system thing. My listening  position in my 2 channel room is at a desk with a office chair, PC display, etc. against the back wall. For serious listening, I just roll the chair more into the room and grab an ottoman for a foot rest. If I'm really serious, I'll place a couple of diy 2' x 2' absorber panels on top of the desk, to catch the back reflections.

The room is suppose to be a home office, again, see WAF. :green: The family PC downstairs has some inexpensive specific PC brand speakers, won't go there here.

I think I might have to pick up an ottoman---I slide back and put my feet on my desk, but an ottoman sounds more comfortable.  I do find that my current speakers image better and present a deeper soundstage the closer I sit, though.  It sounds so good that it's very distracting.  Once I get the "pebble in my shoe" sound take care of, I would like to say I will be finished. 

I'd be interested in how your speakers would sound running Siberian Khatru that I referred to earlier.  Do you have access to Close to the Edge, by Yes?  If you do, give it a listen and see if you can hear what I hear.  It's jarring.  I wouldn't blame you if you don't try it, though---it would stink if I point out something you didn't notice before because once you notice it, you can hear it in other music.  Siberian Khatru is just the best (or worst) example I've come across. 

Thanks.

jk@home

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I actually have that album on vinyl, bought it when it was first released  (yeah, it's been a few years since). But I have no turntable, have gone all digital with FLAC files and a Squeezebox/DAC setup.


RDavidson

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I'm with you on the exposed drivers on the LS50s---my daughter and one of our cats showed particular interest when I did a short test drive of my current speakers without grills.  The design looks like it might put up with poking and prodding fingers, but probably not claws.

I'm glad to hear that Louis has a high regard for customer service----that is very important to me.  I think it's great that he posts here and it makes me think I'm buying a piece of functional art.  I'm excited to read that Super 3s may surpass the LS50s purported ability to present better than even costlier speakers.

Regarding desktop near field listening:  a unintended benefit has been Tidal, which became available in the US right around the same time I started on my upgrade path.  I can run it through JRiver Media Center 20 and it sounds fantastic.  I've been scouring forums and websites for examples of recordings with good soundstage and imaging so that I can learn what my system can do and I've been able to use Tidal to listen to the examples I find.  I've been surprised at my success and this is with full albums in lossless quality, not just 30 second compressed samples.

It's just not worth the risk to me. I'm meticulous about taking care of my gear. If I came home to a damaged driver, I'd be pretty upset.....but then, I'd have to be upset with myself for creating the situation. That the LS50's would go in the less important setup anyway, made it an easy decision to sell them. Not to mention, I figured if I really missed them, I could always buy them again. So far, not missing them that much.

You'll find that many are quite fanatical about their Omegas and Louis here on AC. It is well warranted if you ask me. I'm glad to have given Omegas a try when I finally did. I feel that had I done it sooner, I might not have fully understood nor appreciated the level of sophistication that belies their simple form. Yes, they're truly artisan speakers carefully crafted, one at a time.

Flinx99

RDavidson has the LS50s and owned the Super 3 XRS, he plans on getting the Super Alnicos sometime after a move... he will probably respond soon, if not you can send him a pm.

For a desktop setup I think the Omegas are likely to work better.

On early reflections, single drivers have a narrowing response as frequency rises, so high frequencies have limited dispersion, or are more focused... this does result in a speaker that is easier to deal with wrt 1st reflection points. I'm NOT saying you shouldn't treat 1st reflection points, you should...  The KEF's cone does act as a waveguide for the tweeter to some degree as well, it's effect is also determined by cone diameter so it will be better than a speaker with a conventional wide-dispersion dome tweeter.

Thanks.  I'm a bit stumped as to treating the reflections---I would think the would be occurring on the desk itself.  I am thinking more about Canada Rob's thought about phase misalignment, which has me optimistic that a speaker switch might be the fix.

Flinx99

I've owned the LS50s at the same time as My Omegas.  I've since sold the Kef's.  Really it comes down to the single driver sound.  If you appreciate it, you'll prefer the omegas.  In comparison, the omegas are more coherent, image better and are more dynamic and faster.  The Kefs will play louder and probably sound like they have lower bass, but over time you might realize that You are just hearing a typical bass bloat on the kefs that is not there with the omegas.

IF you compare the omegas to the kefs on a conventional amp, the advantages of the omegas may not come through as starkly.  It's when you start playing with some of the Low powered tube amps where for me, the omegas really pull away.

Thanks.  I've got solid state amps, but even if the Omegas are on par with the LS50s for near field listening, they sound like the potential winner due to quality and price.  If they surpass the LS50s for near field desktop SQ due to the single driver, all the better.

Flinx99

Although this is an Omega Loudspeakers Circle, I may be able to offer some different perspective.

I have a number of different systems at work and at home.  One on my desktop, two in a small dedicated listening room, and one in the living room that is a jack of all trades and which spends most of its time providing TV sound.  My amps are single-ended triode, NAD D3020, Tripath, and classic Kenwood integrated.

OP seems to be jumping in with both feet down an expensive path.  If I were in his position, my choices would be:

1.  NAD D3020.  This $500 all-in-one device is the single biggest bargain in mainstream Hifi today.  It outputs clean, adequate power, sounds great, has a full range of digital inputs, AptX Bluetooth, analog input, and a headphone amp.  Connect this via USB tothe MS Surface 3 and you are only missing speakers.

2.  Single-driver speakers.  Omega's are obviously the preferred choice around here and I know from personal experience that the RS5 drivers will work wonderfully with the NAD.  The GR Research LGK is another great option, but I think the Omega will take you further.

3.  Isoacoustics Speaker Stands.  These run about $80 a pair and will change your mind about stands.  They take your desktop reflections out of the equation and allow you to tune the speaker height perfectly.

4.  Add some decent cables and desktop acoustic traetment.  No need to go crazy but just because it is your desktop doesn't mean it isn't a legitimate listening environment.  You are essentially creating a near field studio monitor setup.

All told you are now into this for about $1,300.  If you then add a sub you're up around $2,100 and you would have to spend a lot more time and money to dramatically improve this experience.  You also have components that can be reconfigured away from the desktop as your needs or tastes evolve.  The Omegas can easily transition to stand or credenza mount driven by tubes and I imagine the NAD would make a very rocking system driving a pair of vintage Klipsch speakers.

You are spot on about jumping in with both feet and the expense.  My wife wholeheartedly agrees, which is why I won't be bring up the NAD anytime soon.  I appreciate the infi, but I really am happy with the Musical Fidelity gear I bought and I think the Rel is a great sub.  Speakers next and I told my wife that was it.

I did come across this write-up on the NAD the other day.  I really want to say I had an NAD eq in the late 80s, but can't zwear to it.
http://www.stereophile.com/content/nad-d-3020-integrated-amplifier