Rocky Mountain Audiofest was a different kind of show for us this year.
It was interesting being involved in the show as a manufacturer providing equipment for someone else’s exhibition space. Zeos of Z Reviews approached us to provide a pair of Ohm speakers for the space he was taking out with the goal of exhibiting affordable audio that might not otherwise be represented at RMAF. Ohm seemed to fit the bill spot on. We reviewed the plans for the room, and determined that the Walsh 3000 Tall was the appropriate size speaker to send along. We built up the speakers and sent them to DMS (a colleague of Zeos) who staged them at home and trucked them out to Colorado, where we flew out and met them.
The room was as elaborate a system as we have seen, with the ability to demonstrate four pairs of bookshelf speakers in the front room, a back room with four pairs of mini monitors, a slew of different headphones, and of course, the Walsh 3000s. They had the same music playing everywhere at once. It was an interesting impression to put on a pair of head phones, and hear the same music that was already playing in the room, only playing right into your ears.
They had a rack of Crown power amplifiers driving the passive speakers up front in the main room, and with the flash of a remote control, they could instantly switch between any of the five pairs of speakers up front, already configured at equal levels. They also had a pair of SVS3000 subwoofers that they were switching in and out.
We arrived a day early to help them set up, and make sure the Ohms were working properly. They already had a lot of the setup done, and our initial impression walking into the room was one of surprise, that the Ohms were so far apart. The speakers were about where we expected them to sound best, based on the architectural drawing of the room; but looking around the space where we found ourselves, it was difficult to believe that this was that same space that was represented on the page.
Now, the Ohm Walsh speakers like to be closer to each other than they are to the listener. In this room, they were about 22 feet apart, which would mean they should have sounded best somewhere in the next suite down the hall. These hotel rooms never seem to present an ideal acoustic environment. Yet, the Ohms didn’t seem to suffer. We tried a lot of adjustments to the speaker placement, and we ended up with them almost exactly where they started.
But How Did It Sound?
Even with their unlikely position, stuffed into the corners along the long wall of the room, they were doing everything that we would expect them to do. They produced an improbably believable center image that stayed firmly in place no matter where you stood in the room, and the sound field was noticeably more spacious than with any of the conventional, forward-firing speakers that were being exhibited.
As we walked around the room, helping Zeos and DMS with the last details of setup, taping down wires and stickering the gear with QR codes, we were pleased with how natural the system sounded. The crowds of attendees who came through the room over the next three days seemed impressed, too.
A special thank you to Zeos for showcasing our technology and for continuing to advocate for it. Thanks also to everyone who showed up to listen – especially to the people who came to the show specifically to hear the Ohms. Who knows where we’ll see you next!
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John Strohbeen Author
John Strohbeen is the president of Ohm Speakers.