KEF Ls50 to Omega

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ThorensSme

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KEF Ls50 to Omega
« on: 19 Jan 2018, 06:14 pm »
Hello everyone

I am new to this forum, and joined specifically to talk about Omega loudspeakers. I am currently running KEF LS50's off of a Yamaha AS1100. Mainly listen to vinyl, FM, and digital stream in that order. While the KEF's are amazing speakers in certain regards, they seem to lack a bit of something...lately I feel as if they are a bit 'dark' and perhaps homogenize tones a little bit. While their clarity and imaging is stunning, I find my self wanting more from the tonal palette. Thus I have been looking into the Omega speakers at the suggestion of others. I have never heard them, and do not have the chance to, so I am looking for people to note their experience with these two speaker lines.

From everything I have read, the Alnico CAM monitor would fit my desires nicely. My current budget is closer to the Super 7 monitor unfortunately.
I listen to everything, Beethoven to Joy Division, Sinatra to Nathan Fake. Looking for a great all around speaker!

Thanks for reading!

seikosha

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Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #1 on: 19 Jan 2018, 07:35 pm »
I had LS-50's for awhile before I gravitated towards various Omegas.  I think you'll like the switch.  I sure don't miss the Kef's.

One thing I really appreciate about Omega's though is that they REALLY benefit from being driven by a good tube amp.  More than most speakers, they'll really let that tube magic shine through.  They sound pretty decent with some solid state amps I've had, but for me, you don't get the full experience of what they can do until you try them with tubes.  Even the bass, which usually sounds better with solid state, comes alive more with a tube amp in my system.

macdane

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Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #2 on: 20 Jan 2018, 07:42 am »
From everything I have read, the Alnico CAM monitor would fit my desires nicely. My current budget is closer to the Super 7 monitor unfortunately.

Not sure where you are or what sort of time frame you're working with, but I just ran across a guy in Texas selling a brand new pair of CAMs Level 2 Quartered Macassar Ebony for $1100. I suggested he post them on the AC sale board but I don't think he has. If you're interested I'll dig up his contact info.

Omegas do seem to get along fabulously with low powered tube amps, but that's not to say they're a requirement by any means. In a pinch, I've mated my Super 3S to my wife's old Luxman R-113 receiver with remarkable results.

Dane

Jorge

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Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #3 on: 20 Jan 2018, 12:07 pm »
Hi. I run a pair of CAM since last spring with surprises. I did pair them first with a sólid Cyrus 200w, with very good result in clarity but the break in  period took quite a while. For the same amp, when compared with a pair of large PMCt24 which I am selling now, the sound was more cristalline and imagine was much evident. Sold the Cyrus, then a Leben 300xs appeared in my life, tubes were new to me. The CAM then changed and the sound improved significantly compared to solid. The CAM performs better now and the sound is something difficult to explain in words, it flows, you see the instruments and the position in space. Clear and vivid sound. The thing even improved further when a LTA +microLTA came to my life. 10w tubes which simply shows that low power linked to single driver speakers provides realistic sound, rich and transparent. The sound comes from the absolute silence, I do not play very loud music at home, but the level of music I’ve got is far twice or three times the money invested in the speakers. Simple as that. design is rather simple, but Louis has provided those drivers with something really special, better my experience with tubes tough.

roscoe65

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Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #4 on: 20 Jan 2018, 03:10 pm »
I have had the chance to listen to LS50’s at my local audio dealer driven by Marantz electronics.  I also have a Marantz AVR at home with a similar sonic signature.  These electronics are less expensive and likely not as nice as your Yamaha, but I provide the information for context.

I also own three pair of Omega speakers:  a pair of original wide-baffle Super 3’s with the latest drivers (similar in proportions to the CAM), a pair of Super 3 HO Monitors (dual-driver), and a pair of SAM’s.  I can offer my opinions on their relative qualities:

Super 3 (single driver).  I will assume similar qualities to the current Super 3 model.

This is the best bargain in the Omega line.  Not only is it the least expensive, but it gives you 70% of the full Omega sound for $695.  This is a great speaker for near field listening, and my wide-baffle models have a front port that allows for shelf placement.  The wide baffle helps flesh out the lower midrange, especially when mounted close to the front wall.  When compared to the KEF, it sounds a bit more midrange-prominent, faster and more detailed (especially inner detail) but appreciably thinner in the mid to upper bass.

This is the speaker I would start with if I wasn't sure which direction I was going.  I would also ask Louis if he could make it a wide-baffle, front-ported configuration for maximum flexibility.  At least two of us here use this configuration and love it.

Super 3 HO (dual driver).  Current model, just broken in.

This is perhaps the most versatile speaker in the Omega lineup.  It is a bit more efficient than the single driver model but more importantly has a much fuller (almost rounder) midbass.  This speaker works well with very low power as well as higher solid state power.  I've used it both with a 4wpc SET and my solid state RWA Signature 16.  It sounds really meaty with the solid state amp and in my room actually gave me too much midbass.  You do lose a bit of the purity of the single driver model, but not enough to really miss it for more than a moment.  This is the closest Omega equivalent to the KEF and is in my opinion a much superior speaker.

This is speaker I would recommend to you right now.  It will upgrade the experience you have with the LS50 while offering greater dynamics.  The HF presentation will be different, but better in my opinion.  This speaker also integrates better with most subwoofers.  I've found that with the single driver models dual subwoofers crossed over much higher than usual (150-200hz) integrate better.  The HO Monitor has enough extra midbass energy blend better with subs crossed over <100hz.

Super Alnico Monitor (single driver).  Current model, well broken in.

I would expect the performance of this speaker to be similar to the CAM with the exception of the bass.  I use to own a pair of Super 3U’s (Super 3 monitor with the cabinet volume of a Super 3 XRS) and found that when compared to the Super 3 Monitor the bass was deeper but maybe a bit less “snappy” than the smaller speaker.  My opinion is that the larger volume models begin to act like an a periodic enclosure (lossy sealed enclosure) to some degree.  This sort of bass works well with room reinforcement in my experience.  The smaller enclosures seem to give a better impression of bass energy but seem to drop off faster.

The Alnico monitors sound more natural, more dynamic with much greater inner detail (ironically, they seem to be a little more forgiving than the RS5 drivers), but do have more of the single-driver sound than the RS5 models.  It is difficult to describe, but compared to the RS5 models the Alnico speakers do not seem to have to work as hard.  Compared to the KEF, this is no contest.  Again, you have the slightly thinner midbass, but I would guess that the CAM bass alignment and near-wall placement would put the midbass of the CAM at or above the KEF.

The CAM is the speaker I would buy for myself if I were starting from scratch today.  It fits on a 24” stand, can be used in any location, and will scale with system upgrades.  However, if you are looking for the best all-around model that will work in most conventional applications (stands in the middle of the room, active subwoofers, solid state electronics) I would probably choose the Super 3 HO Monitor.

TL:dr

If I wanted to get the Omega sound and money were tight:  Super 3 Monitor

If I wanted the best all-around speaker for most systems:  Super 3 HO Monitor

If I wanted the “best” Omega that will scale with system upgrades:  Compact Alnico Monitor

These recommendations are based on my own personal taste and values.  One value is for speakers to be no larger than necessary for the job they need to do.  I feel that the extra bass from the larger enclosures can be better obtain from active bass reinforcement.  I'm too old to be shlepping 100 pound speakers around the house.  I also find that my mood greatly influences what equipment I like, and there are times I need to swap a DAC, amp or pair of speakers because I am in the mood for a different sound.  Monitor speakers that all use a 24” stand make this easy.

The original poster has a vinyl front end (his name is ThoresSme, so I assume it is a nice front end), a fairly expensive integrated amp, and a pair of high-performance monitor speakers.  Rather than reinvent his system (telling him to buy new speakers and switch to tube amps), I would recommend he go with the Super 3HO Monitors.  His amp will likely be operating in Class A most of the time and should provide really great bass with these speakers.  The amp has preamp outs, so if he wanted to experiment with low-power tubes down the road it would be an easy speaker cable swap.  They also offer a great way to add dual subwoofers if he wanted as well.

For further context, the system I am listening to most of the time is a pair of Super 3 HO’s driven by a SET fed by a Chord Mojo streaming Tidal.  I know that I can swap in some different components to significantly improve the sound, but I find the current lazy setup so satisfying I find it difficult to motivate myself to make any changes.

ThorensSme

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Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #5 on: 21 Jan 2018, 01:12 am »
Wow, thank you for the detailed and thoughtful response. I am taking it slowly at the moment, to get a better grip of where I want to be. Honestly I love the idea of keeping the KEF's and adding perhaps one of the more affordable Omega options (all I think are 'affordable' relative to the insane amounts that the hobby can garner.) I need to take some time to study your descriptions and think, thank you!

My vinyl front end used to be a Thorens TD125/Sme 3009 II, Now I have a Michell Gyro Se/SME 309. Vinyl is definitely my main squeeze. FM/Streaming for when i am studying (in school at the moment.)

Thanks again.

rar1

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Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #6 on: 22 Jan 2018, 01:49 am »
I have had Omegas in my systems for a dozen years ... Super 3I, 3T, and now the Super 7 MKII.

The Super 7 are superior and it is not even close.  They excel with tubes or solid state amps.  I am using a Rega Brio R with them these days. 

The secret is the bigger driver.  It is less prone to honking like the 3i can be with vocals. The bigger driver adds an incredible amount of realism and oomph to the sound.  Music sounds alive in a way that few comparable speakers can match.  I have a pair of Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1s that sound small next to the Omega Super 7 and I loved the Sierras.

A bargain at a grand. 

Rich

FireGuy

Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #7 on: 22 Jan 2018, 02:27 am »

I have had Omegas in my systems for a dozen years ... Super 3I, 3T, and now the Super 7 MKII..  Music sounds alive in a way that few comparable speakers can match.  I have a pair of Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1s that sound small next to the Omega Super 7 and I loved the Sierras.

A bargain at a grand. 

Rich

I considered the Sierra 1's along with Axiom's M22's (real wood veneer) and Omega Super 5's a few years ago.  Went with Omega.  My best sonic description is their audio signature is "organic".  A bargain at a grand?   Got that right.... squared.  Balance is the key.   Louis' single driver tech provide a level of romantic audio few speakers deliver. 

Ultralight

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Re: KEF Ls50 to Omega
« Reply #8 on: 17 Jul 2018, 06:19 am »
I've been away FOREVER ever since I was gifted a pair of nice active speaker and decided to go away from separates (which reminds me that I need to get around to listing my items - eventually when I have time...).

Anyways, I was in exactly the same situation as you. My wife and I picked up the LS 50 after auditioning 10 pairs of speakers.  That was the most natural sounding.

However, after I picked up a pair of single RS5 speakers, it was significantly better than the LS 50 for us.  There was much better transients, more natural, and more musical.  I consider the RS5 speakers just amazing bargains as they were considerably less than the LS50 at retail.  I made a review somewhere in audiocircle on that whole journey if you are interested to read it.  I sold the LS50 with absolutely no regrets whatsoever and never missed it.

I then upgraded to a bipole/dipole RS5 speaker and the quality jumped further as it gave me a wider soundstage. I occasionally would add a sub to the system just to bring teh bass down to the 20s.

So I say, go for it.

UL

ps: I'll probably be gone again for a long while before popping in just to see what's cooking in Louis' fertiemind.