Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment


Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

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To Hans Wetzel,

I just read your review of the Benchmark DAC2 HGC. I pay attention to your writings because you're the only reviewer I know of that owns Mirage OMD-28s. I noticed you used KEF speakers for the Benchmark review. Did you sell your Mirage OMD-28s? I ask because I have struggled with the OMD-28s to get them to have good clarity with solid bass in my family room. I still have them, but just replaced them with Dynaudio Focus 340s. But I sort of miss using the OMD-28s, with the open, big soundstage. However, I don't miss the disappointing bass and clarity I experienced with the OMD-28s.

Do you still have them? What cables are you using with the OMD-28s? Are you biwiring, triwiring, or using single wires with jumpers? With my OMD-28s I used JW Audio Cryo Nova single wires with JW Audio Cryo Nova jumpers (this is a custom-twisted magnet-wire cable).

Thanks,
Emerson

Emerson, I did wind up selling my omnidirectional Mirage OMD-28s, and for reasons that you will likely appreciate. When I first purchased my Mirages -- which was actually before I became a reviewer here at GoodSound! -- I was over the moon with them. They were gorgeous looking, threw out an enormous soundstage, and had prodigious bass. As I began to review more and more equipment, I realized that the bass was overemphasized, resulting in tons of it, but at the expense of ultimate definition. If you are finding a paucity of bass in your room, it's certainly not down to wires. I found the 28s needed a good deal of power and current to sound composed in the bass, and I suspect that might have something to do with it on your end. An amp delivering 100Wpc into 8 ohms would be a minimum suggestion, but I found that they sounded their best with over 200Wpc, which I learned when I partnered them with Hegel's H300 or Musical Fidelity's M6 500i.

Regarding the wires, I found that, given just how bass happy the OMD-28s were, Nordost's Blue Heaven cables were a better match than more traditional cables. The Nordosts have a slightly lean, airy sound that offset the overripe bottom end of the Mirages. When I used the 28s with my other reference speaker wire, Dynamique Audio's Caparo, I originally thought that they were bass heavy. In retrospect, the Caparos are pretty even across the audioband, and just happened to expose the Mirages as being overeager in the lower registers. Oh, and I've always been a single-wire guy. Some claim to hear dramatic differences when biwiring or triwiring, but I happen not to, for what that's worth.

As for the clarity of the OMD-28s, this was the deal-breaker for me. On larger orchestral works, I adored the Mirages. They portrayed recording space like no other loudspeaker I've heard, but with closer-miked stuff, I always felt like their imaging was a bit vague and amorphous. Hardly a flaw, this is a byproduct of the design. When you splay sound in the fashion that the Mirages do, you'll get huge sound, but at the expense of clarity.

When someone was willing to buy the Mirages for nearly what I paid for them, I jumped at the opportunity. They're terrific, and if I had a perfectly symmetrical listening room to set them up in, I may well have kept them. In the end, I decided to go with KEF R900s. They don't reproduce space quite as well as the Mirages, nor do they have quite the bass extension or beautiful high-gloss finish, but in every other respect, the KEFs are the superior loudspeakers in my room.

I'm sure you'll love the Dynaudios -- I used to own a pair, and the Danes know how to design a mean speaker. But if you wind up wanting to further explore your options in the non-direct-radiator department, I highly suggest Definitive Technology's BP-8060ST or BP-8080ST models. These bipolar speakers have built-in powered subwoofers, sound almost as large as the Mirages have, and offer imaging that rivals some of the better direct radiators out there. These towers use what DefTech calls a Forward Focused Bipolar Array, in which the rear-mounted drivers play 6dB down from what the front drivers produce. Their research has shown that this is the best way to preserve the imaging of a direct radiator, while also providing a credible bipolar-type soundstage. I think the results are terrific, and if I didn't need fully passive reference loudspeakers for reviewing purposes, I probably would have replaced the Mirages with the DefTechs. They won't have quite the velvety sound of the OMD-28s; rather, they're a bit more crisp sounding. But they're an easy recommendation for a full-range speaker from my vantage point. . . . Hans Wetzel