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

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JLM

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Check out audiostream.com for reviews of desktop oriented playback gear including speakers.  It's a spin off of Stereophile magazine.  Speaker reviews are mostly of active 2-way speakers, similar to what is used in the studio to record/mix the music we listen to.  I own large single driver speakers, but recognize that the studio folks are the serious listeners (working to find all the flaws and create the best possible recording) while we just listen to be entertained.  It continues to amaze me the differences between the two camps.  They don't understand how we can be so fixated on tweaks yet tolerate tons of coloration.  OTOH we can't understand why they have never "grown" beyond generic cabling/amps, yet we base it all on their means and methods for recording.

Oh, and Flinx99, highly recommend using whatever "natural" recordings you're familiar with to evaluate gear with.  Natural recordings (live music created without electronics) provide the only gold standard to measure against (everything else is a yours versus mine, in terms of gear/venue). 

Flinx99

Check out audiostream.com for reviews of desktop oriented playback gear including speakers.  It's a spin off of Stereophile magazine.  Speaker reviews are mostly of active 2-way speakers, similar to what is used in the studio to record/mix the music we listen to.  I own large single driver speakers, but recognize that the studio folks are the serious listeners (working to find all the flaws and create the best possible recording) while we just listen to be entertained.  It continues to amaze me the differences between the two camps.  They don't understand how we can be so fixated on tweaks yet tolerate tons of coloration.  OTOH we can't understand why they have never "grown" beyond generic cabling/amps, yet we base it all on their means and methods for recording.

Oh, and Flinx99, highly recommend using whatever "natural" recordings you're familiar with to evaluate gear with.  Natural recordings (live music created without electronics) provide the only gold standard to measure against (everything else is a yours versus mine, in terms of gear/venue).

I do like Audiostream.  I also enjoy reading John Darko's Dugital Audio Review.  He has only positive things to say about Omega speakers.

While I do listen to "natural" recordings and am blown away by a good soundstage presentation, I also enjoy the guilty pleasure of the artificial soundstage created by electronic music.  The band, Air, is a good example.

RDavidson

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Intersting, Flinx. We also share similar taste in music. I listen to a good bit of chill/ambient particularly in the mornings while I work. French Band Air is great. Thievery Corporation is also a favorite. It's good music. Nothing to feel guilty about. This hobby is supposed to be inclusive. Everyone enjoys music, afterall. In the afternoon I typically switch to something more energetic. I listen to pretty much everything except pop country. I'm also not a big fan of big band jazz. All those trumpets eventually drive me nuts. :lol:
Depending on music type and loudness, you just have to temper your expectations with regard to bass extension / output. Do you plan to get a sub? I won't say it is a requirement, but it is a welcome addition.

JLM

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Not trying to be a musical elitist, just saying that listening to hard rock for instance, can only boil down to an exercise of comparing listening to one huge set of sound reinforcement gear in an arena versus your gear in your room.

I liked Darko years ago too, but he's gotten full of verbage since joining up with 6 moons (the Srajan effect?).  And I'm leery of reviewers that get stuck with the same brands (have they lost perspective?  has it become a mutual admiration society?  just doesn't have the appearance of a healthy relationship).

roscoeiii

Being in an Omega Circle, I'd imagine you would see more positive impressions of Omegas. That said, is it at all possible for you to listen to both speakers?

Those LS50s are really special, as the many raves and awards would indicate. Though they will not shine if underpowered. And yes, I would imagine that they may not be as compelling at low volumes. But their bass and ability to fill a small room is excellent. An exceptional speaker, but one that will sound different than the single-driver sound. For better, for worse. Very often a matter of trade-offs and personal preferences about what tradeoffs are worthwhile and which are not.

RDavidson

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Not trying to be a musical elitist, just saying that listening to hard rock for instance, can only boil down to an exercise of comparing listening to one huge set of sound reinforcement gear in an arena versus your gear in your room.

Understood. I was just telling Flinx there's no reason to feel guilty about music he likes. I think many get intimidated by this hobby and audio forums (including AC), because of Audiophools who shun others for not listening to classical (live and at home). While I appreciate the idea of music education and the importance of understanding the difference between live sound and reproduced, one doesn't need to be educated to like what they like. Art is in eye of the beholder. Music is in the ear of the listener. At the end of the day, as long as one understands that the sound one's system can produce (regardless of cost) is still JUST a facsimile of the real thing, then that's all that's really necessary. How closely one wants to try and replicate the real thing in their home audio system is up to the individual to decide. Just enjoy yourself. :thumb:

Canada Rob

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Being in an Omega Circle, I'd imagine you would see more positive impressions of Omegas. That said, is it at all possible for you to listen to both speakers?

Those LS50s are really special, as the many raves and awards would indicate. Though they will not shine if underpowered. And yes, I would imagine that they may not be as compelling at low volumes. But their bass and ability to fill a small room is excellent. An exceptional speaker, but one that will sound different than the single-driver sound. For better, for worse. Very often a matter of trade-offs and personal preferences about what tradeoffs are worthwhile and which are not.
Hi roscoeiii,

If you read further up the thread, you will see there are those who have heard both the KEF and Omega.

Back in my consumer days I purchased two audio products that were universally praised by the audio press on both sides of the pond.  Five star, best buy, product of the year, etc.  They were both mediocre sounding IMO and poorly made, and didn't last long in my system.  Check out many of the review sites and you'll find the great reviews generally go to those who have the header and sidebar ads on said website.  Audio reviewing today is advertiser driven, not market driven as in decades past.  KEF, like many of the big names has deep advertising pockets hence gets great reviews.  Also, much politics involved too. 

At $1500 a pair, the LS50 should be made in the UK under the same strict CE, UL, CARB, etc. type rules that Omega voluntarily imposes upon itself.  Sound quality aside, what health hazard do these made in China speakers impose to the owners thereof?  Do you think a country that doesn't play by the same rules as the western world as far as "clean" products go is going to provide something safe?

roscoeiii

Hi roscoeiii,

If you read further up the thread, you will see there are those who have heard both the KEF and Omega.

Understand. I have read the rest of the thread. But I would imagine that those who preferred KEF would be posting on and following  a KEF forum, Circle, etc.

KEF and single driver speakers have different sounds that will appeal to different people,  was my main point

RDavidson

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Being in an Omega Circle, I'd imagine you would see more positive impressions of Omegas. That said, is it at all possible for you to listen to both speakers?

Those LS50s are really special, as the many raves and awards would indicate. Though they will not shine if underpowered. And yes, I would imagine that they may not be as compelling at low volumes. But their bass and ability to fill a small room is excellent. An exceptional speaker, but one that will sound different than the single-driver sound. For better, for worse. Very often a matter of trade-offs and personal preferences about what tradeoffs are worthwhile and which are not.

Everything you say is true. Even $100k speakers have tradeoffs. :thumb:
The LS50's are exceptional speakers. As you pointed out (as did I), they just aren't compelling at low volumes. As the OP is looking at near field use (possibly desktop use), I can't imagine the KEFs working well (low volumes - likely less than 1 watt) without equalization. Omegas, from my experience, are FAR more flexible with regard to low volume levels and sounding more balanced. I'm sure there are many reasons for this, including their much higher sensitivity, lower moving mass, and having no crossover. I wouldn't say someone else is "wrong" for liking LS50's over Omegas. Not only do personal preferences come into play, the listening environment as well as desired typical listening levels will dictate a lot about what speaker will work best in any given situation.....and that's why both Omega and KEF provide several options to choose from. :wink:

Flinx99

Intersting, Flinx. We also share similar taste in music. I listen to a good bit of chill/ambient particularly in the mornings while I work. French Band Air is great. Thievery Corporation is also a favorite. It's good music. Nothing to feel guilty about. This hobby is supposed to be inclusive. Everyone enjoys music, afterall. In the afternoon I typically switch to something more energetic. I listen to pretty much everything except pop country. I'm also not a big fan of big band jazz. All those trumpets eventually drive me nuts. :lol:
Depending on music type and loudness, you just have to temper your expectations with regard to bass extension / output. Do you plan to get a sub? I won't say it is a requirement, but it is a welcome addition.

I love Thievery Corporation.  The Cosmic Game is my favorite of theirs.  Have you listened to the band Zero 7? 

I have what I think is a good sub---a Rel T-9.  I use the high level connection and crossover just below the bookshelf bass capabilities.  I think there is a good chance that this sub would work well with the Omegas.

RDavidson

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I love Thievery Corporation.  The Cosmic Game is my favorite of theirs.  Have you listened to the band Zero 7? 

I have what I think is a good sub---a Rel T-9.  I use the high level connection and crossover just below the bookshelf bass capabilities.  I think there is a good chance that this sub would work well with the Omegas.

Yup. Zero 7 is great too. Some of their vocals are eerily well recorded. :o In fact, Zero 7's album Simple Things is one of my references. No one can argue that we, as humans, know when the human voice sounds right (natural) or wrong (poorly recorded / processed).

Flinx99

Everything you say is true. Even $100k speakers have tradeoffs. :thumb:
The LS50's are exceptional speakers. As you pointed out (as did I), they just aren't compelling at low volumes. As the OP is looking at near field use (possibly desktop use), I can't imagine the KEFs working well (low volumes - likely less than 1 watt) without equalization. Omegas, from my experience, are FAR more flexible with regard to low volume levels and sounding more balanced. I'm sure there are many reasons for this, including their much higher sensitivity, lower moving mass, and having no crossover. I wouldn't say someone else is "wrong" for liking LS50's over Omegas. Not only do personal preferences come into play, the listening environment as well as desired typical listening levels will dictate a lot about what speaker will work best in any given situation.....and that's why both Omega and KEF provide several options to choose from. :wink:

Desktop use is exactly what I am looking at.  My available listening time is when I am in front [f my computer.  At work I use IEMs, but at home I have more flexibility.  I am beginning to think that the key to nearfield desktop listening is the lack of crossover. I don't say single driver because I have already started to wonder what two Omega drivers (RS5?) would sound like in a desktop speaker.  : ).  I don't have a dedicated listening room, but I do have a dedicated desk, and reading the news on a Saturday morning sitting in the sweet spot with a good cup of coffee floats my boat.  Plowing through spreadsheets during the week in the same environment becomes completely bearable. 

I start my workday when working from home with an Octoshape stream of Radio Swiss Jazz, but I tend to switch over to this by the end of the day:

http://37.130.228.60/aac-320.m3u

Great SQ.  Radio Paradise running in a 320 kbps AAC stream.  You'll find Air, Thievery Corporation, and Dave Brubek, to name a few.  No country, although some classic Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash will make their way into a playlist hear and there.



Canada Rob

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I have what I think is a good sub---a Rel T-9.  I use the high level connection and crossover just below the bookshelf bass capabilities.  I think there is a good chance that this sub would work well with the Omegas.
All you can do is try.  The key with running a sub with Omegas is that the sub has to be very fast.

Wind Chaser

The LS50's are exceptional speakers. As you pointed out (as did I), they just aren't compelling at low volumes.

Way back in the late seventies, I was in dealers show room who illustrated something I will never forget. He played two different speakers by the same manufacturer; one pair fairly efficient rated 92db about half the price of the another pair, which were rated fairly inefficient at 85db. He adjusted the volume to compensate for the difference in sensitivity so each produced the same sound pressure level. At 65 db weighted, the more efficient speakers sounded much fuller and alive than the less efficient speakers. However, when the gain was increased by 20 db, those same speakers sounded thin and void compared to the less efficient counter parts. On that basis, I bet the Kef's will most likely sound fuller and tonally richer than the Omega's at higher spl's.

roscoeiii

All you can do is try.  The key with running a sub with Omegas is that the sub has to be very fast.

+1, high efficiency speakers and planars are both tough to integrate well with subs.

Though that said, I have had good luck with RELs in a high efficiency set-up.

RDavidson

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Way back in the late seventies, I was in dealers show room who illustrated something I will never forget. He played two different speakers by the same manufacturer; one pair fairly efficient rated 92db about half the price of the another pair, which were rated fairly inefficient at 85db. He adjusted the volume to compensate for the difference in sensitivity so each produced the same sound pressure level. At 65 db weighted, the more efficient speakers sounded much fuller and alive than the less efficient speakers. However, when the gain was increased by 20 db, those same speakers sounded thin and void compared to the less efficient counter parts. On that basis, I bet the Kef's will most likely sound fuller and tonally richer than the Omega's at higher spl's.

That might be true. Note the OP will be using the speakers for a desktop setup, so he's likely going to be sitting within a meter or so of the speakers. In my experience with the KEFs, to get them to open up and sound balanced (ESPECIALLY in upper bass and low mids) you have to feed them some power, which would be VERY loud within a meter. My listening chair is 3 meters away, and still found that I had to goose the volume control pretty well beyond my typical listening levels (in the 70's dbs usually and sometimes low/mid 80's dbs). I know our rooms and systems vary. And again, I would never say anyone is "wrong" for choosing KEFs. I'm trying to help the OP make what I truly believe is the ideal choice for a desktop setup. Given your experience, it seems that we're in agreement.

Flinx99

All you can do is try.  The key with running a sub with Omegas is that the sub has to be very fast.

Here's to hoping the Rel is fast enough.  I am pretty much sold on the Omega Super 3i.

Flinx99

Being in an Omega Circle, I'd imagine you would see more positive impressions of Omegas. That said, is it at all possible for you to listen to both speakers?

Those LS50s are really special, as the many raves and awards would indicate. Though they will not shine if underpowered. And yes, I would imagine that they may not be as compelling at low volumes. But their bass and ability to fill a small room is excellent. An exceptional speaker, but one that will sound different than the single-driver sound. For better, for worse. Very often a matter of trade-offs and personal preferences about what tradeoffs are worthwhile and which are not.

I am 99% sure I will be making my choice based upon written words, rather than sound.  Low volume listening is key, here, too.

Flinx99



Though that said, I have had good luck with RELs in a high efficiency set-up.

This is good to hear.

Canada Rob

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One of the most surprisingly delightful systems I've heard in the lower price range was a pair of Super 3i and the Audioengine N22 amp, on the desktop, and in a room situation.  In the room situation (two different rooms, one big, one medium/small) I ran with and without sub and the sound was incredible.  The integration with the sub (Klipsch RPW10, a real sleeper) was amazing and the bottom end really tuneful.  On the desktop I found a sub unnecessary but it would have been a nice addition. 

I have a customer who came to hear Omega (he has MacIntosh tube amplification (275 MK5), ClearAudio TT, and Maggie speakers).  I played the little system for him with and without sub and he left with the Super 3is.  When he got the speakers thoroughly broken in (he is now running them on a PS Audio Sprout (Class D) he said for much of his music he left the sub off.  He then bought Super 3XRS for his Mac front end.