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omnidirectional loudspeakers = best design available

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#21
I've had a couple omni speakers over the years. A full Mirage Omnisat V2 setup (using FS fronts) and Ohm Walsh 2's IIRC.

The Ohm suffered beaming due to its cone tweeter. So the only "true" omni I tried would be the Mirage's. They did some things right. They were easy to place, created spaciousness, and were capable of sounding good. Good, but not great. And that was the problem. Everything was always "it's in that area over there" and not the ability to point it out. Nothing sounded bad unless it was bad. Everything had a level of ambience added to it. Good recordings should already have a reasonable level of ambience though. If you really want to maximize it certain crosstalk cancellation solutions like SDA/BACCH/Ambiophonics help to do so. The subtle venue acoustics can get a bit lost with speakers in general. When it comes to omnis it's not just lost, it's flat out buried.

On the other hand I would say for a simple home theater for those that don't have fixed seating (say a family with seating all over in a living room) I could easily recommend them. Everyone can hear dialogue at all locations, even in the reject seat 60 degrees off from the screen. In fact when I sold them it went to a family that had regular movie nights and erratic seating with kids - fit their use case perfectly.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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#22
Just some random thoughts:

A musical instrument (acoustic) is more omni than directional. So you will always get a lot of ambient sound from a musical instrument--a sound 'quality' that will just not be present from a directional point source. Does this mean that an omni is best?

From a practical point, an omni is going to have a lot of problems reproducing a wide range of sounds at a reasonable price point. That was the big fault of the original Walsh driver. It was 'full range' (except for the bass) and crossoverless in the range it covered, but the driver was made of different materials from its apex to base (I think it was three different materials), each contributing their own sonic signatures, and related problems. I have no idea about the German Physiks, MBL--or even the current implementation at Ohm. I've not heard them, however in any case they are not 'cheap' to own. Not that that is or should be a disqualifying factor.

I have spent some time (I did not own them or listen to them in my own house) with the Harold Beveridge tall (ceiling to floor) electrostatic line source--not an omni, but a half omni. Through the use of a tall electostatic element and special lens, it sent out a 180 degree rather coherent sonic wave launch (the back wave was damped as it was out of phase--unlike a true omni which cannot be said to even have a 'front' wave, or any front at all). The two speakers were supposed to be placed on adjacent walls facing each other (not facing the listener). The resulting sound was definitely different, and was rather non-directional. You sort of moved around in a 'bath' of sound. Nothing like a conventional speaker, that much is certain. Did it sound like a 'live' musical instrument, more so that a conventional loudspeaker? I really can't say that it did.
Sounds different. At first, may sound much better. Later, not much later, sounds just plain weird. I fell for the Magnepan crazy room bounce interactions along with the neck vice sweet spot.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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#23
I've had a couple omni speakers over the years. A full Mirage Omnisat V2 setup (using FS fronts) and Ohm Walsh 2's IIRC.

The Ohm suffered beaming due to its cone tweeter. So the only "true" omni I tried would be the Mirage's. They did some things right. They were easy to place, created spaciousness, and were capable of sounding good. Good, but not great. And that was the problem. Everything was always "it's in that area over there" and not the ability to point it out. Nothing sounded bad unless it was bad. Everything had a level of ambience added to it. Good recordings should already have a reasonable level of ambience though. If you really want to maximize it certain crosstalk cancellation solutions like SDA/BACCH/Ambiophonics help to do so. The subtle venue acoustics can get a bit lost with speakers in general. When it comes to omnis it's not just lost, it's flat out buried.

On the other hand I would say for a simple home theater for those that don't have fixed seating (say a family with seating all over in a living room) I could easily recommend them. Everyone can hear dialogue at all locations, even in the reject seat 60 degrees off from the screen. In fact when I sold them it went to a family that had regular movie nights and erratic seating with kids - fit their use case perfectly.
Ambience will fool you on first impression.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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#25
I've had a couple omni speakers over the years. A full Mirage Omnisat V2 setup (using FS fronts) and Ohm Walsh 2's IIRC.

The Ohm suffered beaming due to its cone tweeter. So the only "true" omni I tried would be the Mirage's. They did some things right. They were easy to place, created spaciousness, and were capable of sounding good. Good, but not great. And that was the problem. Everything was always "it's in that area over there" and not the ability to point it out. Nothing sounded bad unless it was bad. Everything had a level of ambience added to it. Good recordings should already have a reasonable level of ambience though. If you really want to maximize it certain crosstalk cancellation solutions like SDA/BACCH/Ambiophonics help to do so. The subtle venue acoustics can get a bit lost with speakers in general. When it comes to omnis it's not just lost, it's flat out buried.

On the other hand I would say for a simple home theater for those that don't have fixed seating (say a family with seating all over in a living room) I could easily recommend them. Everyone can hear dialogue at all locations, even in the reject seat 60 degrees off from the screen. In fact when I sold them it went to a family that had regular movie nights and erratic seating with kids - fit their use case perfectly.
If you want to hear dialogue, buy a good 3 way center. Infinity rc263 on budget or Revel if you don't have kids or pay child support.
 
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#26
If you want to hear dialogue, buy a good 3 way center. Infinity rc263 on budget or Revel if you don't have kids or pay child support.
Yes and no. Under controlled circumstances where someone isn't off at an absurd angle this is an option. When the seating does have such angles though, to where the off-axis levels drop to much, omnis have a distinct advantage. For example when I was a kid and we watched movies I would easily be 60-75 degrees off-axis at times. For such extreme cases I think omnis serve a purpose.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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#27
I well remember Ohm omnis. Big, diffuse sound, no specific imaging - just a big amorphous blob. Some people like that, It doesn't appeal to me. Seems like it would make a great party speaker.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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#28
Yes and no. Under controlled circumstances where someone isn't off at an absurd angle this is an option. When the seating does have such angles though, to where the off-axis levels drop to much, omnis have a distinct advantage. For example when I was a kid and we watched movies I would easily be 60-75 degrees off-axis at times. For such extreme cases I think omnis serve a purpose.
.
You are wrong. In a normal room 3 way works unless you listen in the kitchen. But maybe you are right. I need an omni to listen at 90 degrees off-axis. What about the rest of the croud?
 

jhaider

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#29
Imo omnis do some things very well and some things not so well.

Imo one thing a good omni NAILS is, getting the spectral balance of the reverberant field spot-on. I am well aware that the approach preferred around here is for the direct sound to be flat and for the room response to be gently downward-sloping, rather than them both being identical. Imo this preferred approach is making a virtue of necessity:
I'm not sure about that. I've only owned (and still own) one set of omni-isn speakers, Mirage OMD-5. I originally bought them as bedroom speakers because they're really nice looking in this glossy burled birch finish. Even with subs (crossed as woofers using a miniDSP) they always sounded dark to me. They currently provide NPR talk and occasionally music in my office, where their distinctive shape and beautiful veneer also serves as a conversation piece, or did when people actually went into other people's offices. They were replaced by bigger and far uglier but much better sounding speakers in the bedroom that follow the traditional flat on axis/declining sound power model.

Below is my listening window (CEA-2034) response of Mirage OMD-5, measured indoors.
Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 11.49.15 PM.png
 

Duke

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#30
I'm not sure about that... they always sounded dark to me.
Good catch! I should have said something like "assuming they get the on-axis response right, omnis NAIL the spectral balance of the reverberant field." Obviously if the one is "dark", then so is the other. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

edit: Maybe I sorta covered it by using this qualifier: "a good omni..."
 
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EJ3

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#31
Makers of omnidirectional loudspeakers include:

Ohm Acoustics
German Physiks
MBL
Mirage (out of business; still available used)
Linkwitz Labs (LX Mini is a hybrid omni)
Duevel
Morrison Audio


Would the no longer produced BEO LAB 5 belong in this category?
 

Wombat

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#32
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RayDunzl

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#33
Guess none of the senior members have tried omni, planer, electrostatic, etc.
I have a pair of MartinLogans.

All speakers are faulty, choose the faults you prefer.

I like the "no sidewall, ceiling, or floor" direct presentation.

If I'm going to listen critically, and rather loudly at that time, sitting in the sweet spot is not an issue for me.

When Audio buddy comes over, we sit on either side of the sweetest spot, without complaints. We're both a little more into "the music" than "the sound", though we both appreciate good reproduction, with a powerful "in your face" presentation, when appropriate.

---

Omni:

Briefly heard MBL at the show in a big room, didn't make me want them.

---

Impulse:
Red - JBL LSR 308 - wide dispersion, sprays the room, numerous early reflections
Black - ML - the only reflections are the dipole (7ms) and room length x 3 (27ms)

1609657353518.png


disclaimer: I'm deaf to the HF, which is both a curse and a blessing, I suppose.
 
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#34
.
You are wrong. In a normal room 3 way works unless you listen in the kitchen. But maybe you are right. I need an omni to listen at 90 degrees off-axis. What about the rest of the croud?
Are you really going to argue that there isn't an issue with these speakers in terms of level at 60~75 degrees off-axis compared to the direct sound? 3dB can make a large difference in intelligibility, a common reason center levels are often run hot for example.

Have you actually had to deal with such a sub-par position for listening first hand?
 
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Wombat

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#35
Are you really going to argue that there isn't an issue with these speakers in terms of level at 60~75 degrees off-axis compared to the direct sound? 3dB can make a large difference in intelligibility, a common reason center levels are often run hot for example.

Have you actually had to deal with such a sub-par position for listening first hand?
See my avatar. :facepalm:
 
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#36
Do you ever forget about hardware limitations and just enjoy the music? :facepalm:
Yes, do you read what's written before responding? We're talking about home theater usage specifically in relation to dialogue. As such I'm baffled as to what it has to do with music. Care to fill me in on how that's suddenly relevant to the conversation?
 

Wombat

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#37
The pedantry in audio forums is outrageous and gets in the way of sensible discussion. IMNHO.
 
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#38
The pedantry in audio forums is outrageous and gets in the way of sensible discussion.
This isn't pedantry, it's discussion about real world usage and where omni can serve a benefit for a specific application. In applications where levels and coverage need to be consistent omni does well, and center channel dialogue is a good example especially for sub-par room layouts with really bad seating. I know this because I've been subjected to it before first hand, but if you've never had to argue about volume being turned up or down while watching a movie because someone couldn't understand what someone said consider yourself lucky.

Personally I'm not a fan of omni speakers though, but I can at least note what they do right.
 

Blumlein 88

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#39

watchnerd

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#40
Omnidirectional loudspeakers produce the most realistic musical soundstage in the home;
Maybe.

But how many recording engineers are using omnis for mixing and mastering?

I don't know of any.

And when I mix recordings, I want them to translate well.

Translating to omnis is huge wild card in an already gnarly circle of confusion.
 

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