Get a Room!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The speaker/room interaction has a bigger effect on sound quality than all your choices in electronics.

Over the years, I have probably spoken to thousands of Ohm customers and potential customers interested in Ohm speakers. We discuss their room, associated equipment and other factors. Since Ohm offers a 120-day satisfaction guarantee, it is important that we understand as much as possible about the intended use. With this information, we can make appropriate recommendations –- maximizing customer satisfaction and minimizing returns.

Physical Parameters:

Recently, I found myself dealing with precisely the same issues our customers bring to me. Namely, we are about to exhibit at the NY Audio Show (November 4-6, Manhattan’s Park Lane Hotel). While the environment and objectives are somewhat different, the basic process of designing a system to match the room and the usage is very much the same as designing a system for the home.

Since we are located in Brooklyn, not far away, I first visited the hotel to see and hear for myself the sound character of the various rooms. These are hotel rooms that we would consider small to medium home listening rooms. I felt our Walsh 1000 would show off the special benefits of our unique technology. The really big systems, the Walsh 5000 and F-5015, would also do the job but are unnecessary for this small room. And, $2000/pair demonstrates value as well as quality.

Hotel-based audio shows can pose unique problems for the exhibitors. Rooms are on adjoining walls and have different characteristics if they are cinder block or plaster or sheetrock – to say nothing of the bleed-through from the next room. Then there is the goal. At home, most listeners are looking for enjoyable listening over extended periods. Does Ohm’s neutral sound lend itself to the show environment where “shock and awe” can carry the day? We expect the little Walsh 1000s can do both. They are the smallest of our full-range Walsh systems. We think of it as “The Little Engine That CAN.”

Now to Make Our Electronics Selection

We decided that our source material would be CDs. Their sound quality is known, they pose little handling problems – and best of all, our guests can easily come with their favorites and hear our sound from their own source. We choose a $129 Sony DVD player as it will not be the limiting factor in a potential customer’s budget, nor the weakest link in our reproduction chain. Instead, the weak link is the room/interaction.

How big an amplifier do we need? We have long admired Peachtree integrated amps and they are popular with our customers. Our experience is that they reliably deliver clean power without clipping or other distortion problems. For this demo, we chose the company’s Nova 150, a model that features a built-in DAC. As its name implies, the amp provides 150 watts per channel. Enough to provide stress-free wattage to the Walsh 1000s and fill the room.

Let’s Hear It in Action!

By the end of next week, we will know exactly how successful our calculations and plans have been. We are confident that those who come and listen will be pleased and impressed.

We hope to see you there – and don’t forget to bring a CD, so you can listen with “your” music, not just ours! See you after the show…

In the meantime,

Enjoy & Good Listening!



John Strohbeen Author

John Strohbeen was the President and Chief Engineer of Ohm Acoustics from 1978-2023.

John Strohbeen