Finally found a speaker I prefer to my SRS 2

I’ve had a lot of gear pass through my door in the past few years and I’ve auditioned much more at other people’s houses. Nothing sounded better to me than my fully upgraded SDA SRS 2. Nothing could create so much convincing, enveloping sound. I thought some Vandersteen 3A Signatures were close. But now I think I’ve finally found a speaker that I prefer to my beloved SRS 2: Ohm F. Single full Walsh driver (no crossover) radiating 360 degrees of time and phase coherent sound. It’s just lovely. Titanium upper, aluminum middle, and paper base handle the highs, mids, and lows, respectively.

I bought these unrestored, although the previous owner had the foam surrounds replaced. If you know this speaker, you know they require significant (careful) work to get them back to anything near their original condition. After sourcing the right materials and taking my time to do it right, I’ve spent about 12 hours on them, and couldn’t be happier. They really are a treat.

Now, they’re not the perfect speaker. They’re a unique piece of audio history, they’re a great conversation piece, and most importantly, they sound fantastic. But they’re not the easiest to live with. The driver is fragile and irreplaceable, and they’re a pain in the butt to restore. Also, they were never designed to be a party speaker, so their ultimate SPL is limited and they just don’t want to “bump”. It kind of feels like owning an old Italian sports car with no safety features. You love to drive it, but you’re constantly worried about crashing it or blowing it up. But the sound makes up for it.

Although some people take issue with the SDA effect, calling it unnatural, or gimmicky, or “off”, I always found the SDAs to be very natural sounding due to their extremely accurate tonal balance and excellent imaging. But the Ohm F has them beat in the natural sound domain as they also have extremely accurate tonal balance, but since they are able to emanate sound from all directions, they create a remarkably deep soundstage. Something the SDAs always struggle with. I always told myself I didn’t miss the depth since I had the width. But I must admit, after hearing it, it’s hard to go back.

I still love the SDAs, and I will certainly keep a pair in my stable. They are able to sound great with ANY type of music and you never have to worry about them. When I want to crank it up or listen to electronic music without worrying about destroying anything, they’re my go-to. If something blows, I know there’s plenty of parts and support available to fix them. But for now, they’re getting their first layer of dust.

Here’s a pic. Those are Ohm Walsh 3s in the background, also collecting dust.ovwn0zdcsh0j.jpg

Comments

  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,233
    Cool man, as long as they work well for you roll with it. Have to ask though, whats the deal with all those different cables going to the speaker, if they are indeed going to the speaker ?
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • Rex81
    Rex81 Posts: 193
    Oh, those are just general cables laying around my audio room. Other speaker cables, the cord to the lamp, the SDA interconnect cable, etc.

    Just one set of speaker cables for the Ohm F. You can choose to connect it at the base of the cabinet, which just feeds a set of wires that go through the cabinet and up to the driver, or if you want to listen with the speaker grill off and gaze at the beautiful driver, there are 5 way binding posts right at the driver. Again, no crossover at all on these.
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 18,537
    Ohm's are very nice speakers and i believe like SDA's still supported by the factory. They can certainly disappear in the room.
  • Rex81
    Rex81 Posts: 193
    Ohm does indeed provide excellent support for most of their speakers, but they don't support the Fs, or any of the original true Walsh speakers (A, F, and G). The driver production ceased when the original craftsman retired, so no replacements are available, and they refuse to work on them. They'll take the true Walsh driver off your hands and provide you with a non-Walsh version of their new line to bolt onto the cabinet. The new Ohm drivers are very nice, but they're not the same.

    An interesting paradox is that the true Walsh speakers produced by Ohm do not have "Walsh" in their model name, but the non-Walsh designs all have "Walsh" in their model name...
  • My buddy has a pair of Fs that need rebuilding. I remember cranking a pair in the Tech-Hifi shop on Woodward, north of Detroit. The left one went out after about a minute. :# They were cool about it because it wasn't the first time.

    OT, but which one would you prefer in a smaller room (12x15) ? KEF LS50s, Polks or the Ohms ?
  • Rex81
    Rex81 Posts: 193
    edited December 2016
    Haha, luckily the driver is fused, so it probably just blew. Although the titanium section has been known to crumple up like a beer can if pushed too hard with low frequencies. The Fs are only rated down to 35hz, but the driver doesn't roll off like a normal pistonic driver. It will just keep trying to produce the low frequencies down to a measured 8hz. I've found that my Crown XLS 1502 sounds awesome with these and it has a programmable band pass filter, so I'm able to set a high pass filter at 30hz to protect from this.

    My room is 12x22 and I prefer the Fs. I would think it would be the same for 12x15. They're a good sized speaker and are designed for big, lively rooms, but they work well in small rooms because they don't need to be pushed so hard to make the same volume.
  • Rex81
    Rex81 Posts: 193
    They do like to be a ways from the back wall, but normal speaker positioning rules don't apply to them. There's no sweet spot. You can walk all the way around them, or listen to them backwards, and you still have perfect stereo separation. For instance, I have them against my long wall. I can do this because I've found I can be closer to them than the SDAs. They're a good deal farther apart than I am from them.
  • westmassguy
    westmassguy Posts: 6,725
    Very nice. Famous and infamous at the same time. Very narrow operating range.
    Enjoy them.
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/143984/my-2as-finally-finished-almost/p1
    Center: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/150760/my-center-channel-project/p1
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/151647/my-surround-project/p1
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, Hurricane Nuts, Blackhole5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-600, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer
    Cables: Speaker: Furez 10/2 with GLS Locking Banana Plugs
    Interconnect: Furez 10/2 with SpeakONs
    ICs: Custom Furez by Douglas Connections
    Den:
    Bose 901 Series II Continentals Restored, Re-Built Equalizer with Elna Silmic IIs, Sonicaps, and Silver Mica Caps
    Carver CT-3 Pre, Carver C-500

    dhsspeakerservice.com/



  • What was the old saying about Ohms ? Something like it takes 200 watts to run them and 201 to blow them. Such an innovative design.
  • Rex81
    Rex81 Posts: 193
    That's the saying alright, but I think it might belong in the same bucket of nonsense as "You need 200+ watts to power SDAs", and "Pro amps don't belong in the home".

    My SDAs run beautifully off my 50 watt Yaqin tube integrated, but I couldn't get enough volume out of the Ohms with the same amp. But a 50 wpc Class D amp based off a $10 TPA3116 chip had them singing along quite happily with the volume at half. And my Crown 1502 "pro" amp powers both speakers very nicely. I don't know enough about amp topology to say why one amp works well or another doesn't. I just know that certain gear works better together than others and you have to try stuff out and listen for yourself.

    Some of these audio myths and legends do more harm than good.
  • My SRS 2s sounded excellent with a Dayens Menuetto 70 watts a channel integrated, but I think there would be a point when it ran out of power with higher volume. I have swiss army knife (Halo Integrated ) coming next week, so I doubt if I have that problem with 240 watts a side. I hope it sounds close to the Menuetto at moderate levels.
  • Rex81
    Rex81 Posts: 193
    TForan wrote: »
    My SRS 2s sounded excellent with a Dayens Menuetto 70 watts a channel integrated, but I think there would be a point when it ran out of power with higher volume. I have swiss army knife (Halo Integrated ) coming next week, so I doubt if I have that problem with 240 watts a side. I hope it sounds close to the Menuetto at moderate levels.

    Indeed. I'm sure a Halo Integrated would fit the needs of 99% of audiophiles. I'd get one if I wasn't so cheap.
  • DSkip wrote: »
    That's part of the reason I wanted you to try and jump up to the Ecstasy if you went with Dayens. Out of curiosity, what made you feel it ran out of power?

    When it quit working ? J/K, I'd buy another one in a minute. Such a good sound.

  • lawdogg
    lawdogg Posts: 393
    Very nice, Michael Bolton. It's beautiful. Daydreaming now - how would they compare to Magnepans? Apples and Oranges I imagine but curious nonetheless.
    <3 my 3.1TLs

    I will fix your shifted magnets for free. :)
  • Rex81
    Rex81 Posts: 193
    I think thy compare favorably to Magnepans. You certainly get the same type of air and space. I think Maggies are better at projecting sound on a large scale while the Fs are more intimate. The Fs do a better job of creating the depth of soundstage, which I think goes a long way to making the listening experience seem more natural. The Fs also recreate lower bass better. They don't need a sub.
  • Plus they look so damn cool!
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