Omega's New Super 3 XRS Speakers
From the American full range driver underground comes Omega Loudspeakers. We've covered their other goodies like the Hemptone 8 and the cheap Mini-Me speakers before. All of Omega's speakers have been bookshelves up to this point and, if you follow the forums, you know there's been some regular rumbling for a big boy speaker from Omega. Enter the Super 3 XRS, a grown up version of their acclaimed Super 3 speaker.
Like any full-range speaker, sound comes from one driver. In this case, one of the exotic Fostex 4.5" drivers made from ground banana pulp. Freq is 40-18k Hz with 93dB/8ohms for all you micro-powered fans out there. Like always, Omega sports sexy finishes. Ebony wood below and teak with leather sides above. Best part? Only $849 a pair.
VTV EXPO - Welborne Labs
You're looking at the prototype Welborne Labs Cogent Field Coil horns. Now, you may look at the picture and not truly appreciate how huge these horns really are. Try almost 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Someone said they were just a bit too big for the small hotel room. No joke, you practically had to sit inside the horn to listen to them. Welborne did try to get a ballroom for their demo but, alas, only the crackerbox was available.
Needless to say, it was a miracle they got the speakers in the room in the first place. Also shown are the Welborne Ultrapath BP battery powered preamp at $1700 and the 45 Star Chief monoblocks at $2390. A Carver sub took over below 60Hz.
Maybe next time the hotel will be kind enough to lend their atrium for Welborne's demo. Here's to hoping.
UPDATE: Yeah, maybe the dimensions were a touch over-exaggerated. Dimensions are as follows: total unit 69" high, bass horn 33.5" wide, midrange horn 32" wide and total depth 43". Thank goodness they didn't bring their horn subwoofer -- 120 cubic feet with an 18' path of front-loaded power.
Gemme Concerti 108 Horn Speaker
Damn, that's one sexy speaker. The new Gemme Concerti 108 uses a 4" full-range driver from Fostex for its 42Hz to 23kHz range. Notice how the driver is whitish? Yeah, that's mashed banana peels. For whatever reason, drivers from Fostex use bananas. Bizarre compounds seem to be a full-range thing -- the Omega HempTone 8 speakers use hemp.
Call me crazy, but priced $3395 in piano black or $3650 in Anigre wood as shown, I'm not too sure what makes these speakers different than the $800 The Horn from The Horn Shoppe (reviewed here) -- same driver, same folded horn cabinet design, same lack of crossover...is the extra shiny cabinet and brass accessories worth the additional $2595? Maybe, 6Moons and SoundStage have review samples on the way.
Omega HempTone Compact 8 Speakers
Omega is no stranger to the pages of SonicFlare. We have covered the Grande 6, Mini-Me and most recently the B200 single driver speakers. Through all of this, rumors of hemp-based drivers have floated around the internet chat rooms, stirring up excitement for a new flagship from Omega. Well, behold, the HempTone speakers have arrived with the HempTone Compact 8 kicking it all off.
What makes the HempTones unique is, naturally, the new custom hemp fiber driver. Louis of Omega has spent a lot of time testing and tweaking the drivers and proclaims it perfect and ready to go. Other unique features include composite walls built from a number of different densities of MDF, birch ply and "R Compound," an asphalt-vinyl layer.
Specifics for the Compact 8 run 50Hz to 18kHz with sensitivity of 96dB and impedance of 96dB. Prices run $1299 for the awesome laminate finishes or $1450 for Macassar Ebony or Teak (shown). Expect to see some floorstanding models of these guys sometime in the future. For now, the Compact 8 is the best hemp-based, asphalt-lined single driver speaker in the world (well, it's probably the only one, but it still rocks).
Omega B200 Speakers
From Omega Audio comes the B200 Aperiodic speakers in all their single-driver glory. We posted on Omega's Mini-Me and Grande 6 earlier and, until their new hemp drivers arrive, the B200 takes the flagship spot.
Now, that driver (with the smallest dustcap I've ever seen) is an 8" Visaton B200 driver tweaked to Omega's liking and covers 52Hz to 18KHz without a crossover. A pretty new driver, its been getting rave reviews by those who've had a chance to listen. As for that "Aperiodic" part of the title, the B200 is ported, but only partially. Rather than having an open hole, the aperiodic vent allows for a kind of "breathing" rather than actual bass-reinforcing venting, giving the driver the speed and control of a fully sealed cabinet.
Price for the B200 runs $1099 in their glorious laminate finishes. "Laminate" sounds a lot less attractive than it really is and once Omega's new site launches (any day now, so they say) we'll hopefully be seeing a lot more pictures of how fine the speakers really are. For a solid wood option like the Macassar Ebony (shown) or Teak will run you $1249.
Reviews in the forums are blowing up so get check them out here. Really, more manufactures need to get hip with the forums. The high end is so crazy as it is, word of mouth and actual contact with the manufacturers seems to make a lot of sense.
Zu Cable Druid Speakers Win Big
The Zu Druids, now in mk4 status, get some hot, hot lovin' from 6Moons Srajan. I would put in a choice quote from his review, something that sums up his feelings for the $2800/pair high-efficiency speakers, but, well, all five pages of his review are chock-full of audio copulation. Yes, five pages of pictures, dissections and factoids all wrapped up in some hot and steamy prose.
Needless to say, Srajan loves the speakers so much he awarded the Druids the "Lunar Eclipse" award. The Lunar Eclipse award is like receiving an Oscar times ten, with the Oscar being the regular 6Moons "Blue Moon" award. In the history of 6Moons, the Druid is one of only two speakers to have won a Lunar Eclipse award (the Gallo Reference 3 being the other recipient) where as regular Blue Moon awards are handed out much like any other mag's awards.
The Druids sport a range of 35Hz to 20KHz and rate at 101 dB sensitivity. Like the Zu Tones, the Druids are available in Black Satin (pictured) or Tokyo Frost (grayish) for the regular price. Additional charges apply to pretty-up your Druids with custom colors, flames or graphics of your favorite American Idol.
Tannoy's Excellent Arena Speaker System
Tannoy is a interesting company. They are one of the oldest speaker companies in the world, use proprietary dual-concentric drivers (tweeter inside the driver) and champion super tweeters whenever they can. All this wouldn't matter much if their speakers weren't the bomb.
In case you don't know, super tweeters are used either in addition to a normal tweeter or to compliment a full-range driver like the Zu Tones. The Tannoy Arenas use the second approach and, unlike the Zus, have an upper frequency cut-off of 54KHz. If that means nothing to you, consider that human hearing stops about 20KHz. So who are the Tannoy Arenas for? Your audiophile dog.
The bit about the dog is a joke (though there have been stranger things in audiophilia). Keep reading for more on super tweekers and the rest of Tannoy's magic.
Omega Mini-Me/Red Wine Clari-T Combo
For those arriving here from Gizmodo and elsewhere, here's a great little package that's priced for regular folks and will get you into that glorious single-driver club. Presenting the Omega Mini-Me speakers, the little siblings of the Grande 6 speakers we posted about earlier, and the Clari-T, the little sibling of Red Wine Lotus. $788 gets you in the door to this party.
There are no reviews of the package yet or the Mini-Me by itself, but there are a number of reviews on the Red Wine Clari-T. A review of the duo is forthcoming from Positive Feedback and, naturally, we'll keep you updated.
Now, that black you see on the front of the speaker isn't plastic, it's leather. Yup, leather. And while the picture isn't the best, the word is these are some great looking speakers. Louis of Omega Audio is master woodworker and really knows his stuff, as you can see from the picture on the next page...
Review: Omega Grande 6 Speakers
Gary L. Beard of Positive Feedback lets the Grande 6 strut their stuff and likes what he hears, though isn't as completely enamored as other reviewers have been with these speakers. Omega Audio is a small company specializing in hand-build, affordable, single driver speakers. Like the Zu Tone Speakers, the Omegas don't need but a few watts to really come alive - perfect for those tube-heads and tripath fans. And at $799 they won't break the bank.
That said, Omega will be replacing their whole range of products with custom hemp drivers and upgraded cabinets shortly. While already some of the most beautiful finishes around, Omega will be adding new veneers and leather into the mix. Check out the review if you want a taste of Omegas. Otherwise, stick around as we keep an eye on this exciting little company.
News: Zu Cable Tone Speaker
One of the cooler companies out there, Zu Cable has released the new Tone bookshelf monitor. Remember, this is the company who, a few years ago, showed their full-range Druid (on which the Tone is based) with a Ferrari red finish and orange sublimated flames bursting from the driver. Definitely cool and, for a price, Zu will paint your Tone, Druid or Definition (their biggest, baddest speaker) whatever colors or graphics your little heart desires.
What makes all of Zu's speakers unique are their custom drivers, housing and cables. The driver (hidden in the picture by the grill) is a custom 10" high-efficiency, full-range labor of love. They didn't go to Fostex or Lowther for their drivers. No, they design, test and manufacture everything in-house. And that goes for the wicked little tweeter too. And the cabling (they are Zu Cable for a reason).
Keep reading for the specs and other Zu goodies.
Magico Ultimate: What Dreams Are Made Of...
What better way to kick off our first day than to feature a pair of speakers we will never own. These are, ladies and gentlemen, the Magico Ultimates and, priced at $229k a pair, are some of the most expensive loudspeakers in the world. Designed by Alon Wolf, a man who has remained in the shadowy corners of the audio industry, the Ultimates are his pride and joy - the culmination of years of work and cutting-edge technology. The man has built speakers for private clients for years and these, along with his Magico Minis (priced-to-move at $20k), are the speakers that will scream "Magico!" into the hearts and minds of audiophiles everywhere.
Specs, you ask? Well, the Ultimates are 5-way horn speakers (save for, of course, the woofer at the bottom) and run an outboard active crossover by DEQX (highly modified). Uh, the drivers come from Japan. Other than that, there isn't much to know at this point (no reviews yet). Well, they are big. To give you a sense of scale, that little woofer on the bottom is 15". Not 8" or 10" or even 12." It's 15" and, yes, that means the speaker is bigger than your Hummer, yacht and Gulfstream combined.
If you want more info, check out 6Moons' introduction of the Ultimates at Magico Ultimate.
Oh, did I mention that the low, introductory price of $229k does NOT include the active crossovers? I know, I know, it's the deal-breaker for me too.