Considering Omega...

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rebbi

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Considering Omega...
« on: 23 Apr 2015, 01:54 pm »
Hi, Folks!
My current speakers are Reference 3A De Capo's, which I have loved in the past in combination with my old Manley Mahi push-pull tube mono-blocks. (If you're interested, here's my review of the De Capo's and of their little brother, the Dulcet.)
This past winter, I sold my Manley gear and built a 300B SET amp, the Audio Note Kit 1. I blogged the process of building the amp, and again, if you're interested, you can check out the ongoing blog here.
I am in love with the sound of this amp and sold on the virtues of SET amplification. Now I am wondering how the system might sound with a speaker truly optimized for low power tube amps, such as the Omega. In a sense, the De Capo is probably as close to a single-driver system as you're going to get in a 2-way, given that the mid-woofer is coupled directly to the amp with no crossover, and the tweeter is protected by a single capacitor.
I spoke with Louis some time ago and he recommended the Super 7 XRS Mk II. I'd love to try the Super Alnico XRS but I'd have to fund the new speakers by selling my current ones and unfortunately I think that puts the Alnico's out of reach.
So, here are a few questions:
  • Given that Louis gives you a 30 day home trial, I was wondering how much break-in the Omega's need to get a sense of what they can really do. I know that some full-range drivers have a reputation of being peaky and obnoxious until they have several hundred hours on them. So, how good a sense of the speakers' capabilities can you really get within the trial period?
  • I am sort of an imaging and soundstage addict and I know that the Omega's have a sterling reputation in that department, so I guess I'm covered there, right?
  • The BE tweeter on the De Capo's is very smooth and extended, and I'm wondering if I'd lose much - if any - of that with the Omega's.
  • I'm guessing that the De Capo's dig down into the lower 40's in terms of low end extension. In my smallish, 11 x 16 x 8 room, what kind of bass performance might I expect?
  • Finally, placement. I don't have a dedicated listening room, and therefore I have limitations to placement. For example, I can't get the speakers much more than 1.5 to 2 feet out from the wall behind them. With the bottom ported XRS, is that likely to be a problem?
Thanks for your thoughts, folks.

DaveC113

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #1 on: 23 Apr 2015, 02:04 pm »
Let's see...

-break in is shorter for the newer drivers but I still would want to get 100+ hours before judging.

-imaging will be awesome if your acoustic space will support it. Single drivers tend to beam the higher frequencies but the mid frequencies still have wider dispersion and 1st reflection points should be treated imo.

-you will lose some high frequency extension vs a Be tweeter but I'm not sure you'll notice it or miss it

-you'll get similar bass extension but a sub is always a good idea if it blends in well

-placement should be fine

Canada Rob

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #2 on: 23 Apr 2015, 03:20 pm »
Hello rebbi,

In your size room I think the Super Alnico XRS could be overkill.  I think the Super 7XRS MK2 would be a great choice.  You might also consider the Super Alnico Monitor.  I run mine (on Skylan 4 post stands) with a 2 watt SET and the sound is sublime.  My room is 13' x 17' x 8 and the system is on the long wall.  I also have the Super 7 Monitor MK2 which I love, but the Alnico Monitor is in a completely different class.  I realize the Super Alnico Monitor and a pair of 4 post Skylan stands is fairly pricey, but if you already have some solid stands in the 20" range, they should work fine until you can get some Skylans.  A really good and affordable stand is the Lovan Jazz 1800 which will work well with the Super Alnico Monitor.
« Last Edit: 23 Apr 2015, 05:41 pm by Canada Rob »

Holygeezer

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #3 on: 23 Apr 2015, 03:44 pm »
Hello Canada Rob,
I recall looking for the Lovan Jazz stands to buy a few years ago and could not find anyone who actually had them for sale. It seemed like they had been discontinued. Just wondering if you know of an actual site to buy them from. They look like great stands, but are they actually available any longer is the question.

Canada Rob

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #4 on: 23 Apr 2015, 04:56 pm »
Hello Canada Rob,
I recall looking for the Lovan Jazz stands to buy a few years ago and could not find anyone who actually had them for sale. It seemed like they had been discontinued. Just wondering if you know of an actual site to buy them from. They look like great stands, but are they actually available any longer is the question.
You might contact Lovan and see where you can get some. 
See link: http://www.lovanusa.com/index.php?cPath=1_9&osCsid=2ba7d9045808706986d7c95a77517ffe

rebbi

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #5 on: 23 Apr 2015, 05:05 pm »
Canada Rob,
Many thanks to you and everyone else for the feedback. I already have a set of extremely solid speaker stands, the old Osiris 24 inch models that are very heavy, solid metal and filled with sand and incredibly stable and inert. I have a feeling that the top plate might be a bit on the small side for the Omega monitors, but as a temporary place to position them, they might work just fine. Thank you for bringing up this option.

mresseguie

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #6 on: 23 Apr 2015, 06:34 pm »
Question about placement in room and on stands:

Knowing that every room will affect placement...generally speaking what is the best/better placement for the Alnicos monitors (or even Super 7 monitors) - toe in? Straight out?

I have 60 pound 4 post 21" Target stands ready and waiting. What do I want to use to separate the speaker veneer from the hard metal? Sorbothane feet? Open cell foam? 2" butcher block? T-bone steak?   :wink:

Michael

macrojack

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #7 on: 23 Apr 2015, 06:48 pm »
Question about placement in room and on stands:

Knowing that every room will affect placement...generally speaking what is the best/better placement for the Alnicos monitors (or even Super 7 monitors) - toe in? Straight out?

I have 60 pound 4 post 21" Target stands ready and waiting. What do I want to use to separate the speaker veneer from the hard metal? Sorbothane feet? Open cell foam? 2" butcher block? T-bone steak?   :wink:

Michael

For your porpoises --- tuna steak.

rollo

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #8 on: 23 Apr 2015, 06:55 pm »
 Blu-Tak works well in keeping the speaker steady. You may consider using Vibrapods if the plinth is of proper size so the speaker cannot be moved. Decoupling the stand from the floor is recommended as well. Herbies products are very affective.


charles

Canada Rob

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #9 on: 23 Apr 2015, 07:04 pm »
Question about placement in room and on stands:

Knowing that every room will affect placement...generally speaking what is the best/better placement for the Alnicos monitors (or even Super 7 monitors) - toe in? Straight out?

I have 60 pound 4 post 21" Target stands ready and waiting. What do I want to use to separate the speaker veneer from the hard metal? Sorbothane feet? Open cell foam? 2" butcher block? T-bone steak?   :wink:

Michael
Slight toe in shooting at shoulders or just outside.  Sorbothane feet (stuck to stand, not speaker) are good and won't mar the bottom of the speaker.

JLM

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #10 on: 23 Apr 2015, 08:26 pm »
Walmart sells blue "Fun tack" for a couple of bucks (enough to do a pair of speakers).

mresseguie

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #11 on: 23 Apr 2015, 11:24 pm »
Thanks, guys.

Doesn't Blue Tack sometimes cause problems for veneer? I'll probably try sorbothane feet or, perhaps, Salmon jerky.  :wink:

Apologies to Rebbi for going off topic. I'll behave.
« Last Edit: 24 Apr 2015, 04:51 am by mresseguie »

Canada Rob

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #12 on: 23 Apr 2015, 11:28 pm »
Thanks, guys.

Doesn't Blue Tack sometimes cause problems for veneer? I'll probably try sorbothane feet or, perhaps, Salmon jerky.  :wink:
Rainbow trout caught on a nice fly rig. :lol:

RDavidson

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #13 on: 24 Apr 2015, 12:20 am »
I've never had any problems with Blu Tack on wood veneer or paint......and that's on speakers less robustly built than Omegas. Just use 3-4 small balls of it about the diameter of a dime. No need to coat the bottoms of the speakers with it. It holds speakers to stands VERY well.

.......or use north atlantic cod.

rebbi

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #14 on: 24 Apr 2015, 12:30 am »
Umm... we got ourselves some "topic drift" here.   :lol:

Anybody have additional comments on my original post?

JLM

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #15 on: 24 Apr 2015, 01:07 am »
Seems like the move of a never satisfied human audiophile (to break a pairing you "loved").  As an engineer, I say (but don't always follow my own advice  :oops:) "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".  As somewhat a "speaker guy" I'm a speaker first, then find the best amp to serve it, kind of guy.  So I don't understand why you'd smuck up an apparent good pairing with an amp change.  Sorry but you did ask for more comments, right?


The Reference 3A De Capo is a classic, well designed, and universally respected.  They would not be easy to replace (or improve upon). 

The Alnico XRS speakers sit higher than the other XRS speakers, but are still a bit low (a bigger deal is a small room and can still be hidden behind furnishings).  I use Alnico single drivers, but the rated F3 of 35 Hz might be a bit over powering for your room.  So Louis' recommendation of the Super 7 Monitor Mk II would probably be your best fit for the room and coming from the 3A's.

macrojack

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #16 on: 24 Apr 2015, 01:18 am »
The plight of the audiophile follows the patterns described by other addictions. The ebb and flow of emotions, always the oblivious, delirious, dissatisfied undulations. Always seeking a higher high.
Keep your system as it is and seek counseling. Ultimately, it is not the room or the speakers or the wires that needs to be treated. It is the human. Be grateful that you had the wisdom or guidance to assemble such a successful system and don't mess with success. If you have money to burn, you can throw it on my fire.

rebbi

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #17 on: 24 Apr 2015, 01:22 am »
Macrojack and JLM,
The therapy check is in the mail.   :lol:

JLM

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #18 on: 24 Apr 2015, 03:40 am »
Would that be for my therapy or yours?
 
I tried for years to warm up to SET's but not finding (at that time) a high efficiency speaker without significant shortcomings I commissioned a unique pair of speakers to be created and from there have tried a number of amps with them.  (Commissioning speakers took more guts than brains or money.)  And my man cave (audio in front, office in back) was nearly free as part of building our house 10 years ago.

Would I invest the same in speakers again today, it'd be a pair of stand-mounts (maybe a sealed pair of Omega with RS5 drivers) with a "swarm" of subwoofers (search Audio Circle to learn why multiple bass sources should be used in-room).

Come to think of it, adding subwoofer(s) would relieve your 3A's of bass load, allowing them to play more freely with the new amp.  Even two would help with standing waves and reduce with the bass load.  After all, the 3A's are only 2 - 3 dB less efficient than Omega.

Canada Rob

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Re: Considering Omega...
« Reply #19 on: 24 Apr 2015, 04:03 pm »
IMO having an Audio Note 300B SET is nothing short of a provocation to try a good pair single driver speakers.  Trying to compare your 3A to an Omega is like trying to compare apples to oranges.  The 3A may win out in the top end but few if any speaker I've heard can touch Omegas for their midrange, imaging, and UN boomy transparent bass.  Nothing I've heard is faster either, not even electrostatics. The directness of the Omega sound is like nothing I've heard.  You won't likely miss your tweeter.  There is a myth going around that single driver speakers can't handle complex music as well as a multi way.  Not true.  If anything, the opposite is true.  One of the things I love about any Omega is how deep they can dig into any recording - simple or complex.  Unlike most multi way speakers Omegas are amazing for retaining their dynamics at low volumes.

I realize the 3A is a legendary speaker and it's design is about as good as it gets for a 2 way, but it never will have the directness a single driver speaker has with it's single point source, and nothing I've heard works with a SET like a good single driver speaker.

The latest de Capo BE is rated @ 92dB efficient, the Super Alnico @ 93dB (rather conservative in my personal experience), the Super 7 @ 95dB, and the Super 3 @ 94.5dB.  On a flea/low powered amp even 1 dB of efficiency can make a difference , not to mention there is nothing in the signal path of an Omega.  All Omegas have ultra lightweight drivers that work well with the low damping factor of SET amps.  The 8" carbon fiber driver of the 3A with what appears to be a rubber surround is no doubt heavier than any Omega driver which are paper or hemp based with fabric surround.

Don't think I'm bashing your 3As, I'm not.  I'm just drawing what I believe to be a fair comparison between two completely different speaker designs, and I feel the Omega will be better suited to your SET.  All you can do is try, and if you don't like the Omegas, there's always the 30 return policy.
« Last Edit: 24 Apr 2015, 10:37 pm by Canada Rob »