HOME THEATER & SOUND -- www.hometheatersound.com



December
2007

Reviewed by
Roger Kanno
REVIEWERS' CHOICE


Mirage
OM Design
OMD-15 / OMD-C1 / OMD-5 / Prestige S10

Home-Theater Speaker System

Features SnapShot!

Description

Model: OM Design OMD-15 floorstanding speaker
Price: $2500 USD per pair
Dimensions: 40.1"H x 8.7"W x 12.3"D
Weight: 35 pounds each

Model: OM Design OMD-C1 center-channel speaker
Price: $750 USD
Dimensions: 19.1"W x 7.9"H x 6.8"D
Weight: 15 pounds

Model: OM Design OMD-5 surround speaker
Price: $375 USD each
Dimensions: 9.2"H x 6.5"W x 7.2"D
Weight: 8 pounds each

Model: Prestige S10 subwoofer
Price: $700 USD
Dimensions: 14.625"H x 14.625"W x 15.625"D
Weight: 40 pounds


Description (cont'd)

Warranty: Five years parts and labor for speakers, one year for subwoofer amplifier

System Price: $4700 USD

Features

  • Magnetic grille attachments (OM Design)
  • High-gloss black or high-gloss rosewood veneer finishes standard (OM Design)
  • Ribbed Elliptical Surround (all bass/midrange drivers)
  • Biwirable, biampable (OMD-15)
  • Wall-mount bracket (OMD-C1, OMD-5)
  • Decoupling spikes or rubber feet (OMD-15, Prestige S10)
  • 300W continuous, 1200W dynamic peak BASH amplifier (Prestige S10)
  • 10" fiberglass-composite driver (Prestige S10)
  • Polishing cloth and gloves

After reading Doug Schneider’s glowing review of Mirage’s flagship OM Design speaker system, the OMD-28, I was excited to review an HT system assembled around their smaller OMD-15 speaker. A pair of OMD-28s, a matching center-channel, and two surround speakers cost $11,500 -- and that’s without a subwoofer. The system I received for review consisted of OMD-15 mains ($2500/pair), an OMD-C1 center ($750 each), OMD-5 surrounds ($375 each), and a Prestige S10 subwoofer ($700). At a total price of $4700, this is a lot less than the OMD-28 system, if still not "inexpensive." However, considering that the OMD-15 system is still part of Mirage’s top-of-the-line OM Design series, the price seemed very reasonable. And if they delivered the kind of performance I expect from a reference line of speakers made by an R&D-driven manufacturer such as Mirage, the price might even seem something of a bargain.

Description

Although these OM Design speakers all use the same woofer/midrange cone and tweeter, these drivers are different from those used in the OMD-28 and its matching center and surround. The OMD-15 models share a 5.5" Poly Titanium Deposit Hybrid bass/midrange driver with Mirage’s patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround, and a 1" Pure Titanium Hybrid Dome tweeter in the company’s patented Omniguide module. Mirage describes their Omnipolar models as dispersing sound in a 360-degree pattern. I won’t get into all the technical aspects of the Omnipolar technology here; Doug explained it thoroughly in his review of the OMD-28.

The OMD-15 is a mid-sized (40.1"H x 8.7"W x 12.3"D) floorstander with a forward-slanting top panel and a curved back, like all of Mirage’s OM Design and Omni speakers. On that slanted top surface is an upward-firing 5.5" bass/midrange driver, and directly above that is mounted the tweeter in its Omniguide module. On the front panel are a 5.5" passive radiator and, below it, another 5.5" bass driver. The cabinet is raised off the floor on four legs attached to the base plate, to accommodate the downward-firing port. A grille with pressure-fit inserts covers the front drivers, and a hemispherical grille with magnetic attachments encloses the top of the speaker. Around back are two sets of high-quality binding posts; spikes are provided. Each OMD-15 weighs 35 pounds.

The OMD-5 surround speaker, designed to match the OMD-15, looks like a truncated bookshelf version of the larger speaker. Though smaller than most bookshelf designs, the OMD-5’s 9.2"H x 6.5"W x 7.2"D enclosure contains the same top-mounted 5.5" bass/midrange driver and Omniguide tweeter module as the OMD-15, its sides are similarly curved, and its slanted top is covered by the same magnetically attached, hemispherical grille. It actually looks a lot like one of Mirage’s popular Nanosat satellite models, only larger and much more luxuriously built. On the rear of the eight-pound speaker are one pair of high-quality binding posts and a threaded hole for a simple wall-mount bracket.

The OMD-C1, designed to be used as a center-channel speaker with a pair of OMD-15s, uses the same 5.5" bass driver and 1" dome-tweeter module, but in a slightly different configuration. Firing upward from under the tweeter module is a 4" Poly Titanium Deposit Hybrid driver, this flanked by the two 5.5" drivers. All drivers are mounted on the cabinet’s forward-canted top surface and are covered by a semi-cylindrical grille with magnetic attachments. As in the OMD-5, a single pair of high-quality binding posts and a threaded hole for the wall-mount bracket are on the rear. A tabletop mount is also included. Each OMD-C1 measures 19.1"W x 7.9"H x 6.8"D and weighs 15 pounds.

All OMD speakers come in premium high-gloss black or high-gloss rosewood veneer. I can’t think of another line of speakers available at this price that offers as much technology or is built to as high a standard.

The review system was completed by Mirage’s Prestige S10 subwoofer. As its model number suggests, it has a 10", front-firing, fiberglass-composite driver with Ribbed Elliptical Surround and two rear-firing ports. Power is provided by an amplifier rated at 300W continuous (1200W dynamic peak). The low-pass filter is variable from 40 to 120Hz and can be defeated with the Crossover Filter switch. The phase is continuously variable, and the power switch can be set to On, Off, or Auto. A single line-level RCA input is provided, as well as high-level (speaker) stereo inputs. Spikes and rubber bumpers are provided for placement on various surfaces. The enclosure, which measures 14.625"H x 14.625"W x 15.625"D and weighs 40 pounds, is finished in the same high-gloss black available with the OMD speakers; the grille of black cloth is removable.

Setup and system

Because Mirage’s Omnipolar speakers radiate sound more uniformly in all directions than conventional direct-radiating speakers, they have somewhat different placement requirements. Despite this, I had no difficulty positioning them in my room, and suspect that most other people won’t either. The OMD-15 mains ended up about 1’ in front of and to the sides of my JVC HD-56FC97 56" rear-projection TV, and about 3’ from the front and sidewalls. I placed the OMD-C1 center-channel on the same shelf as the TV, a few inches in front of its screen. The OMD-5 surrounds were placed on stands slightly above and behind my listening seat. I put the Prestige S10 subwoofer about halfway down the room’s right wall.

The OMD speakers are designed to work by reflecting a large portion of their sound off the room boundaries. I found that adjusting their placement did somewhat alter the character of their sound and imaging, but to a much lesser degree than I’d expected. For example, having a large TV screen between the OMD-15s and directly behind the OMD-C1 didn’t turn out to be a problem -- I was still able to hear good image specificity and a very deep soundstage. Still, to get the best imaging, I had to place the OMD-15s slightly farther apart and thus a little closer to my sidewalls than I usually have speakers in my room. Otherwise, I didn’t find placement of the OMDs any more difficult than with most other high-performance speaker systems.

The rest of my system consisted of an Anthem D2 audio/video preamplifier-processor, Axiom A1400-8 multichannel power amplifier, and Oppo Digital DV-970HD universal player and Sony PlayStation 3. I crossed over the OMD-C1 center-channel and OMD-5 surrounds to the Prestige S10 sub at 80Hz but ran the OMD-15s full-range.

Sound

The OM Design speakers’ presentation of the soundtrack of The Devil Wears Prada was totally involving. The bass was tight and lively on Madonna’s "Vogue," as Anne Hathaway’s character is transformed from frumpy executive assistant to chic fashionista. Bono’s penetrating vocals on U2’s "City of Blinding Lights" were placed solidly in the front soundstage as the realistic sound of frenetically clicking cameras circled all around the runway models.

Seamless is a word often used to describe multichannel speaker systems, and it particularly fit the Mirage array. The music in chapter 27 of Gladiator was completely enveloping, the haunting vocals crystal clear, yet the dialogue remained absolutely intelligible. Not only that, the OMD-C1 center-channel made the actors’ voices seem to emanate from their exact positions onscreen; the characters of their voices changed very little even when I was seated well off axis.

The OMD-5 surrounds matched the front speakers perfectly. The enchanting French vocals in chapter 22 of Ratatouille sounded delicate and engaging, whether originating from the front speakers or the surrounds. The lightning strike and shotgun blasts near the beginning of the film didn’t rock the foundation of my house as they can through some systems, but were tight, visceral, and shockingly effective. Later, as Remy and his fellow rats float down a sewer filled with rushing water, the OMD-5 surrounds once again distinguished themselves by sounding utterly convincing and tremendously immersive.

The acoustic guitars on the Blu-ray edition of Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds’ Live at Radio City sounded more like real guitars than I’ve heard from any other recording. The OMD speakers placed the guitars and Matthews’ voice in a huge, well-defined soundstage. The strumming was quick and lively, with a deep resonance to the bodies of the guitars on "Crash into Me." And the Mirages re-created the performance of the uptempo "Lie in Our Graves" with a stunning realism that astounded me. Watching the entire disc, I was awestruck by this system’s ability to provide an entirely believable re-creation of a live concert performance.

Comparison

My reference multichannel speaker system mainly comprises speakers from Paradigm’s Reference line: Signature S8 mains, Signature C3 center, Servo-15 v.2 subwoofer, and Mirage Omni 260 surrounds. This provided an interesting point of comparison to the Mirage OM Design system, which held its own against the far larger, far more expensive Paradigms. The Mirages lacked some of the Paradigms’ transparency and sparkle in the highs but imaged nearly as well, with a noticeably deeper soundstage. Though image outlines weren’t quite as sharp, the Mirages had an uncanny ability to place those images precisely in three-dimensional space, which made music, dialogue, and sound effects more distinct. In The Devil Wears Prada, the vocals on the well-recorded soundtrack seemed to almost leap out from the front soundstage to hang in mid-air between the speakers.

It should surprise no one that the larger Paradigm Reference Signature S8 mains ($6000/pair) and Servo-15 v.2 subwoofer ($2200) had definitely more bass weight. What did surprise me was how taut and controlled the modestly priced Mirage Prestige S10 sub sounded -- it could play very loud with little apparent distortion. It couldn’t go as low as the Servo-15 v.2, which took away from the subsonic rumblings of some movie soundtracks, but otherwise it was very precise and capable.

I already use Mirage Omnipolar speakers as surrounds in my reference system. However, those floorstanding Omni 260s ($1000/pair when available) were easily bested by the OMD-5s, which displayed many of the same wonderful sonic characteristics of the OMD-15. I would wager that, in addition to being an exceptional surround speaker, the OMD-5 would make an excellent main speaker in a sub/sat system. It’s a bargain at $375 each.

Conclusion

The OMD-15-based surround speaker system from Mirage is one of the best all-around multichannel speaker systems I have ever reviewed. The sound was always engaging, and sometimes breathtaking in the way it presented movie soundtracks with a realistic and coherent sense of space. Although it presented a very deep, wide, 360-degree soundstage, it always sounded quite natural and, more important, very neutral.

I used to write a monthly column, "Cinema Cynergy." To me, the OM Design speakers are all about synergy. I’ve heard other systems do certain things better than these speakers, but rarely have I heard a system so well balanced and coherent. It costs a not-insignificant amount of money, but $4700 for this level of performance is a bargain by audiophile standards -- and this OM Design system does deliver true audiophile sound. Add to that the standard premium high-gloss finishes, and Mirage’s remarkable OM Design speakers are in a class of their own. You simply must experience them to hear what they’re capable of.

Review System
A/V Processor - Anthem Statement D2
Amplifiers - Axiom A1400-8; Bel Canto e.One REF1000s, eVo6
Sources - Oppo Digital DV-970HD CD/SACD/DVD-A/V player, Sony PlayStation 3, Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB converter
Display Device - JVC HD-56FC97 56" RPTV
Cables - Analysis Plus, Essential Sound Products
Surge Suppressor - ZeroSurge 1MOD15WI
 

Manufacturer contact information:

Mirage Speakers
3641 McNicoll Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M1X 1G5
Canada
Phone: (416) 321-1800
Fax: (416) 321-1500

Website: www.miragespeakers.com


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