Ownership and Review of a pair of Ohm Super Sound Cylinder
Greetings all - I recently ordered a pair of Ohm Super Sound Cylinder speakers, or SSC-4900’s. They are in the middle of the Ohm Walsh lineup, and are about 38 inches tall and the cylinder cabinets about 12.5 inches in diameter.
Specs are listed at 88 dB for a 2.8 V input, and a response curve of +/- 3 dB from 25 to 20,000 Hz.
This whole process is part of a “high end, high value, USA made two channel system” thread I started a couple of months ago on another forum. The electronics are the PS Audio Stellar Gain Pre-amp/DAC and a pair of PS Audio M700 mono amps.
The PS Audio equipment has already elevated the Axiom M100’s and Martin Logan Electro Motion ESL speakers in terms of performance. The Axioms have a “twin” available in Brick and Mortar outlets from Bryston called the A1’s.
The Ohms are a music lover’s dream.
For reference, other speakers which we have or still have in house include: Klipsch LaScala II’s, Legacy Signature SE’s, Infinity IRS Sigmas, Ascend Sierras, PSB Strata Goldi, VMPS Super Towers and a host of other speakers.
The Ohm Walsh speakers have been something about which I have read since 1977 (the year I got the audio bug), but have never had the chance to experience. The SSC-4900’s sell for $4900 per pair, though the name and pricing are coincidental. The “4900” is due to the idea that the speakers are “almost a 5000”, but with less controls - one switch vs. 4 for the 5000, but also a lower price.
John Strohbeen, who is he president at Ohm and who has been with them for almost 40 years, was gracious enough to spend an hour talking on the phone about our room, the associated gear, and also that there would be a review thread. It was after this discussion that we decided on the SSC-4900’s.
I am purchasing the speakers, not getting a review pair. They are under the 120 day return policy. John is well aware that my daughter sings opera, my son is adept at classical guitar, and that live music is the reference. He was actually quite pleased about this.
This will be fun (at least for me), and hopefully informative. Comments are welcome.
I honestly have no idea what to expect from the Walsh sound. They are so different from other speaker designs that the only thing to do is set them up properly and hear what happens!
Roysq … We are getting close to doing a formal write up on the SSC-4900’s. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a way to post pictures into this forum. Does anyone know how?
You can look for a formal write up over the Thanksgiving Holiday, when I finally have some time. I bought a “distressed” Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealership in October, 2017, and this summer was a lot more work than I anticipated.
For now, I can say I absolutely LOVE these speakers. Every chance I get to try new music, I do. And what they do with old rock favorites like Pink Floyd and Supertramp is astonishing. Deep, tight bass. A soundstage that is MASSIVE. The clarity of vocals is world class.
They are more power hungry than the Legacy Signature SE’s or Axiom M100’s, but the PS Audio M700’s are more than enough - and for under $10,000 for the total system, the PS Audio Pre, M700’s and Ohm’s are fantastic.
It is time for the 6 month summary of the experience our family has had with the Ohm SSC-4900’s (referred to as the Ohms from now on). During these 6 months, the Ohms have had every type of music thrown at them, along with dozens of movies in two channel, and finally my kids (who are all grown) playing X-Box and Play Station games.
The Ohms are unlike any speaker we have ever had. We all have biases that “hit us” in different ways. When we first unboxed and put the Ohms into our basement system, my instant bias was that there was no way these “speakers in a can” could deliver detail. I was expecting a diffuse sound with punchy bass from the large driver. This bias turned out to be well off the mark.
The Ohms match or beat any speaker we have had here, and also any that I have auditioned at a high end store. For speakers owned, this includes Legacy Signature SE’s ($8000 per pair), Klipsch La Scala II and Klipschorns, VMPS SuperTowers, PSB Stratus Goldi, Onix Reference III’s, Infinity IRS Sigmas ($10,000 per pair) and numerous others. In store auditions have included Magic S-5’s driven by $50,000 in McIntosh electronics, Magnepan 20.7’s, Goldenear Triton Reference and Monitor Audio PL 500 II’s.
The associated system we have is a relatively modest PS Audio M700 monobloc amps (350/700 WPC into 8/4 ohms), Stellar Gain Pre-amp and DAC, and an OPPO 203 universal player. For video, we have a standard Spectrum Cable box. Both the OPPO and the Spectrum are sending a digital signal to the Stellar Gain’s DAC using Pangea Coax digital cables. The entire system is about $10,000.
Let’s start with detail. On Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the song has a background vocal muttering something. On the Ohms, for the first time, those words are quite clear … “You … Yes You … Stand Still Laddy!”. The see through quality of the Ohms is incredibly well done, yet the speakers always sound so musical. On the same disc, the guitar work on Mother is natural, and the bass depth of the guitars is palpable.
To come up with one particular arena in which the Ohms shine would be almost impossible. Every disc we have is played with a deep, wide soundstage, a realistic spectrum starting at about 28 Hz and up to well above one’s hearing abilities, and never a hint of harshness. The Ohms are a music lover’s dream. They can rock with the best of them, handle male and female vocals with all the emotion intact, and are the type of speakers that make one look for reasons to lose a couple of hours listening.
They also are a tremendous experience for watching video - whether from DVD or from the Cable Box. One experience from earlier this year was watching golf after walking 18 holes with some friends. The microphone was picking up the gallery of golf fans, and one could easily hear comments from the audience members, sometimes coming what seemed behind me. Regular television is actually enhanced by these speakers.
So - what are the caveats? The Ohms need power - good, clean power - to drive them. They won’t rock in the way the Klipsch Heritage line can. Personally, I would recommend nothing short of a good 200 WPC amp to drive them. They are not the speakers that you crank for your buddies while showing them off. They are the speakers you buy because you want to experience something that is close to what you experience live. Just don’t expect 120 dB in output at the listening position. Even with that Caveat, we have a pair of Stereophile Class A Klipsch La Scala II’s here, and it is the Ohms to which I turn for the best music performance.
A good subwoofer will add to the bass depth. I am a bass-aholic, and even with the knowledge that a subwoofer will add to the experience, for 6 months, we have run the Ohms without a sub, and we just plain love them.
On a personal note, to everyone who has owned Ohms for years, and a couple of you, Decades, thanks for participating in this thread. Let’s keep the conversation going. This thread has evolved from one person’s long term review to a thread of Ohm owners adding their experience and expertise to the thread. You guys all are amazing!
If anyone has a question, please ask. One of us will hopefully be able to help.
For now, Terminator 2 is starting on cable. The Ohms are already making it better - it’s a wall of sound. Time to enjoy !!