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Which "omni directional" speakers do you recommend?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Advice, wisdom, opinions, experience needed...

I'm not an "audiophile" but appreciate great sound. I'm also penurious, so I'm cheap. smile.gif

I'm building a 5.1 system and so far I've got a Hsu VTF-2 (with an upgraded sub-amp from Hsu), and a Denon X4000 I picked up from BB for $625 tongue.gif I'm currently searching for a used Crown XLS 1500 amp to power the future fronts. I'll have the Denon power the center and rears.

Listening habits:
30% HT and 70% Music, but the only time I'm sat in one place listening to my current system is when I'm watching a movie/TV. When I play music I'm usually doing something around the house, and I'm never just sat there with my eyes closed listening. My music collection is 80% high grade MP3s, compressed with LAME at variable 192k.

Type of listening room:
I will be moving in the next few months and have no idea how big the living room will be and with what type of floors it will have. It shouldn't be large though. I'll probably be in a condo with a space of around 8x15x20ft (but that's just a guess). But I want to start my search for speakers now because I know some are hard to find or I don't want to miss out on a really good deal. How many of you have missed out on amazing deals sold in the past on Audiogon, CL, or eBay of pieces that you're now looking for? It's definitely happened to me! So I don't want to miss out on something and want to start searching now. Which means I need a speaker that is flexible when it comes to placement and room acoustics.

What I want in a speaker:
What I want in a speaker is not only accuracy but also transparency and a big soundstage. I realize that the term "soundstage" is thrown around here quite loosely. But I need some speakers that don't require me to sit directly in front of to appreciate. I also want speakers that do the "disappearing act" quite well. I initially was looking at Martin Logans and Maggies, because you can pick those up hugely discounted on the used market. But I realized that, yes they are some of the most transparent and effortless speakers on the market, but I would have to listen to those within the impossibly small sweetspot to appreciate them. I need something that sound amazing even outside the room. So, I started to read reviews and search on AVS, and Audiogon forums and started to realize that there are other options to planars and ESLs, that sound not only great in-room but also outside the room. I also realized that on the used market that there are a few that fit within my budget of $800/pair. Those speakers that I've come across that supposedly sound great in and out of a room are all "omni or semi-omni" directional speakers and not the typical speakers in a box. I do love esoteric designs, so I don't mind weirdness smile.gif

Speakers that fit within my budget of $800/pair used, and sound good outside the room:
  • Mirage OMD-15
  • Gallo Reference Strada
  • Ohm Accoustics MicroWalsh Tall
  • Sunfire CRM 2
  • Duevel Planet

Also, because I have a decent sub, I don't need bass response below 60-100Hz (although, from what I've read, the lower the response from the fronts the better for better sound integration - correct me if I'm wrong).

And I don't really want to take more time and save up more money and just get the Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.5s and be done with it. I might do that in a few years, but now I want to stick to a budget of $800.

  • What have I missed?
  • Are there other speakers that I should consider?
  • Out of those listed, has anyone listened and compared any of those and found one to be better than the other?
  • What are the pros and cons of each?
  • What are your experiences with those listed?



Reference Links:

Edited by JonnyBCookin - 2/23/14 at 12:51pm
post #2 of 11

It doesn't sound like you are poverty stricken. 


I don't make recommendations on speakers as its a personal choice as to what sounds good to you - not me. I'd wait until you are actually moved in with your belongings. Sounds like you don't know much about the place you are moving into and if you are as poor as you say you are you might have to end up spending extra money for room treatments to control the sound. Are your neighbors in the condo going to appreciate your sub? Too many unknowns. Have patience and wait until you know what you are up against.

post #3 of 11
I've heard 4 of the 5 brands (not the specific speakers you listed) and of that group, I'd choose the Ohm. Matter of personal preference, and I'd recommend you go and listen to as many of those choices as you can before making a final decision. Speakers are a VERY personal choice.

There are a couple of issues with the Ohm ... First, it's a 4 OHM speaker, so that restricts your receiver/amplifier choices to those brands that can handle that sort of load. Second, it's only rated at 85dB so you will need a lot of power if you intend to crank it way up. In addition, as with most "quick" speakers, there is often an issue with integrating the "slow" bass (If you've listened to Martin Logan you know what I mean). Lastly, the 360 degree radiation pattern can be challenging in a room that is not symmetrical.

I expect others will have widely disparate views on the subject. My advice is to trust your own ears.

Oh, and East Glenn gives good advice regarding waiting until you know what you are dealing with before spending the money.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
I thought $800/pair was a pretty low budget, guess not... tongue.gif

I should have enough power for the Ohms with the Crown amp:

Crown XLS 1500 specs:
*1 kHz Power
2Ω Dual (per channel) 775W
4Ω Dual (per channel) 525W
8Ω Dual (per channel) 300W
8Ω Bridge 1,050W
4Ω Bridge 1,550W
*Maximum average power in watts at 0.5% THD, 1 kHz.

Do you guys know where I can go in Southern California to listen to any of these? I know Gallo is in LA, so I guess i can travel up there an take a listen (if they allow that type of thing and if they even have Strada and not the 2nd version). Sunfire looks like they have good distribution so I should be able to find a local retailer carrying a CRM 2. I think Ohm is internet only. And Mirage has been discontinued. I have no idea about Duevel.
Edited by JonnyBCookin - 2/23/14 at 2:01pm
post #5 of 11
The Crown looks like overkill! eek.gif You could fry a steak with that power. Just hook up the speaker wires to each side and crank it up! biggrin.gif Careful not to overcook it ......

I believe the Ohms have a liberal trial period, so you could order them and send them back if you decide against them.

One other thought, some of the speakers with top mounted tweeters (B&W, for example) have been said to have a pretty wide dispersion pattern, so you may wish to do a bit of reading on those and, perhaps, give them a listen in your travels.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
OK, thanks for the recommendation.
post #7 of 11
If the "OC" in your profile happens to be Orange County, you should check out this classified listing on the Emotiva forum (no affiliation to the seller). The X-Omni (made by the deceased AV123 and designed by GR Research's Danny Richie) meets your requirements/desires...I use a pair for surrounds (with LS-6 line arrays) and think they are a nice speaker (especially for the money). I had mine hooked up as mains last night and they are definitely shy on bass but will be fine down to 80-100 Hz. This would be a nice deal for you if local!
post #8 of 11
Not omnidirectional, but have a pretty wide sound stage:

Philharmonic Audio monitors at 699 / pair

Off axis response is excellent.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for those two recommendations. I'll research and read up on them.
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by JonnyBCookin View Post

Do you guys know where I can go in Southern California to listen to any of these? I know Gallo is in LA, so I guess i can travel up there an take a listen (if they allow that type of thing and if they even have Strada and not the 2nd version).

I don't know if it's always true but I've never heard of a loudspeaker builder not letting letting people stop by and listen to their wares - even without an appointment.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Good to know, thanks! I'll see how Gallo is about me stopping by for a listen.
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