Omnisat v2 FS / Omnisat v2 CC / Omnisat v2
/ Omni S10
Home-Theater Speaker System
|I am a hardcore
moviegoer and a pretty lucky guy. Near my home is a large multiplex theater that shows
almost every Hollywood blockbuster thats in current release, and not too far from
that is a first-rate art-house theater that features more obscure films -- small-budget
Hollywood features, hard-to-find independent releases, an assortment of foreign films, not
to mention advertising festivals and other films you just cant find anywhere else.
Theres never a shortage of something good to see, so I go to about three movies at a
theater every week.
Omnisat v2 FS floorstanding speaker
Price: $1000 USD per pair
Dimensions: 45"H x 5.5"W x 5.9"D
Weight: 21.75 pounds each
Model: Omnisat v2 CC center-channel
Price: $400 USD
Dimensions: 17.8"W x 5.21"H x 4.62"D
Weight: 5.4 pounds
Model: Omnisat v2 main or surround speaker
Price: $500 USD per pair
Dimensions: 8.12"H x 5.53"W x 5.9"D
Weight: 4.8 pounds each
Model: Omni S10 subwoofer
Price: $500 USD
Dimensions: 17"H x 14.7"W x 18.5"D
Weight: 41 pounds
Warranty: Five years on speakers; one year
- Omniguide technology (Omnisat v2, v2 FS, v2 CC)
- Black and silver finishes (Omnisat v2 FS and v2 CC);
black, platinum/black, silver and white finishes (Omnisat v2); black, platinum and cherry
finishes (Omni S10)
- Pure Titanium Hybrid tweeter (Omnisat v2 FS,
v2 CC, v2)
- Polypropylene Titanium Deposit Hybrid driver (Omnisat v2,
v2 FS, v2 CC)
- Amplifier "true FTC rated" to deliver 200W
continuously with 800W peaks (Omni S10)
- Elliptical Surround technology (Omni S10)
- Magnetic shielding (Omnisat v2, v2 FS, v2 CC)
But something happened when I hooked up the new Omnisat
v2-based home-theater speaker system sent to me for review. I stopped going to the theater
as much and I started watching more movies at home, which is exactly what happened when I
reviewed the original Omnisat-based home-theater system, the Omnisat 6, back in 2002.
Mirages Omnisat v2-based home-theater speaker system is something special among the
abundance of 5.1-channel speaker systems on the market today.
I dont know if I was the first person to review the original Omnisat, but I was
certainly one of the first. Since then Ive reviewed many more of Mirages
Omnisat-inspired designs, including the Nanosat,
and the Omnisat
v2 FS (which is part of this system), all of which employ the Omniguide first
introduced in the Omnisat.
The Omniguide comprises two drivers, a low- and a
high-frequency unit, and two specially placed saucers that disperse the sound waves from
those drivers over 360 degrees. Unlike typical 360-degree-radiating speakers, though, the
drivers and saucers in Mirages speaker are angled in such a way so that more energy
leaves the front of the speaker than the rear. The idea is to create the expansive
soundfield that true 360-degree radiators are known for, but with more forward energy akin
to a traditionally designed direct-radiating loudspeaker to give better soundstage focus.
Sort of the best of both worlds.
With speakers like these, the one thing you need to concern
yourself with is the room in which you will use them. This is a consideration with any
loudspeaker, and particularly with one that radiates its sound over 360 degrees. With
energy dispersed in the way these speakers do it, you need walls because the
speakers are relying on reflections from these surfaces to sound right. Frankly,
almost everyone has a room with four walls; however, someone who has an open-concept
living room with few or no walls might have trouble getting these speakers to sound right.
Likewise, if you audition these speakers in a very large store where the system is placed
out on the showroom floor far from any walls, its not going to sound the same as it
would in a room at home.
The Omniguide modules in the v2 FS and v2 are the
same, each containing a 4.5" Polypropylene Titanium Deposit Hybrid driver and a
1" Pure Titanium Hybrid tweeter. The v2 satellite is a two-way design crossed over
from woofer to tweeter at 2.7kHz, while the v2 FS is a two-and-a-half-way design
crossed over from the woofer to the tweeter at 2.5kHz. To deliver substantial bass from
whats a relatively tall and narrow enclosure, the v2 FS also employs two active
woofers and four passive radiators, all lined up on the front of the speakers
slender cabinet. The active woofers are crossed over to the driver thats in the
Omniguide at 900Hz. The Omniguide's driver, however, is not rolled off in the low end --
it works with the front-mounted drivers all the way through the bass region.
The v2 CC, a three-way design, uses a 3/4"
version of tweeter in the v2 and v2 FS, and a 3" version of the Polypropylene
Titanium Deposit Hybrid driver to reproduce the midrange frequencies. Two more 4.5"
drivers flank each side of its Omniguide to deliver bass. The midrange and tweeter cross
over at 2.7kHz, while the midrange transitions to the bass drivers at 550Hz.
The only speaker in the
entire system without an Omniguide module is the pint-sized-but-potent-sounding Omni S10
sub, which features a built-in amplifier that is said to deliver 200W continuous and 800W
peaks. The question you might ask is, Why no Omniguide here? The reason is quite
simple: bass frequencies, because of their long lengths, are omnidirectional, so they
dont need any sort of dispersion devices to help them spread throughout the room.
They just do. Thats why, for example, you can have forward-, rearward-, or
side-firing woofers on speakers and not be able to tell exactly where the sound is
originating from, something you cant do with a tweeter or even a midrange driver.
And its also why the woofers on the v2 CC and v2 FS dont have
reflectors for the bass drivers either.
However, the S10 has a feature that's almost as interesting
-- Mirages Ribbed Elliptical Surround, which has "ribbing" molded into the
woofers surround. This is said to provide greater excursion capability for the
driver's cone and lower distortion. If thats what accounts for this little
subs thoroughly impressive performance, or at least part of it, Im all for it.
The S10 has a phase-inversion switch, adjustable crossover, and a switch to defeat the
crossover if youre using the crossover in your processor or receiver.
I used this Mirage system with some very inexpensive
electronics -- a Nakamichi AV-10 receiver, a Harman Kardon DVD 31 DVD player -- that
didnt seem to hinder the performance one bit. This indicates to me that you can
expect very good results from this speaker system without breaking your bank account. In
fact, people who hear and see this system swear up and down that it costs a whole
lot more than it does because it performs so well and looks so good.
I like going to movie theaters because at home I never hear
what I call "the bubble of sound," which is what I experience in a good
theater. Im talking about an expansive, immersive experience from which I hear the
sound but dont necessarily know exactly from where its coming. Audiophiles
refer to this as the speakers "disappearing"; when speakers dont
disappear, they draw attention away from the movie or music to the sound system, which I
find distracting. This happens most often with center-channel speakers, which often
dont match the main speakers tonally and end up sticking out like a sore thumb, or
with poorly implemented surrounds that let you know that the sound is coming from right
"there" and over "there." A good surround experience shouldnt be
like that -- it should be expansive and seamless.
Mirages speakers never fail at making "the
bubble" -- creating a soundfield thats impressively large given the
speakers size and not hard to achieve with the speakers set up in a modestly sized
The Forgotten is a somewhat entertaining movie with
a knockout soundtrack. Its exceptionally clear-sounding and makes wonderful use of
all channels by creating great effects that enhance and never distract. The result through
the Mirage system was an absolutely massive soundfield that never gave a hint of the
speakers' placement. From the get-go this speaker system immersed me in sound, and
although I still knew there were three speakers in front of me and two behind, I
wouldnt have been able to guess how many or even where they were placed based only
on what I heard.
That seamless, spacious soundfield is a product of
Mirages Omnipolar technology -- which is all about the Omniguide -- but also the
quality of each loudspeaker and how they all work together as a system, something
often forgotten by many people who pick their speakers one by one. Like the Omnisat 6
system I reviewed a few years back, this Omnisat v2 system comes together in a way I
rarely hear with other home-theater systems, and its obvious that all these speakers
were designed to work as a team.
I reviewed the v2 FS speakers
in a two-channel, music-only system on SoundStage! A/V earlier this year. I said
plenty of good things about them, but I might have shortchanged them a bit in that review.
In a nutshell, the longer I listen to them, the more I like them, and if I were to review
v2 FS speaker again today, the review would be even more positive. They seemed to get
even better with time, and Im not talking about some break-in thing.
The v2 FS, and all the new v2 speakers for that
matter, are exceptionally smooth- and refined-sounding, particularly through the mids and
up through the highs. In fact, they have the kind of tidiness and purity that audiophiles
often swoon over and pay lots of money to get. The v2 FSes dont bowl you over
with visceral wallop and impact -- theyre not some big, boxy brutes that you play
loud at parties -- but they do enchant with their always-easy-on-the-ears sound quality.
Thats one of the reasons theyve impressed me more over time -- I dont
tire of their sound as I do with some speakers. Theyre not necessarily strong in the
bass -- they dont have great weight or real slam -- but theyre not light,
either. For home theater they certainly need a sub to help out, but on their own with
music, I found them fleshed out enough.
And they simply do wonderful things with acoustic music,
which forms a large part of what plays in my house. My wife plays a lot of Latin music
that features unamplified instruments and has a strong emphasis on vocals. The v2 FS,
even used just in a stereo setup, creates a massive, expansive soundfield and presents
such a relaxing, enjoyable presentation that you can leave the system on all day and never
tire of what you hear. I wouldnt say these speakers are the pinnacle of accuracy,
but they do reach for the heights when it comes to enjoyment.
Im not giving away anything about The Forgotten by
saying that it has a bit of violence; certain characters get killed off from time to time.
That tends to be what happens in Hollywood movies today. Its how and when
it happens in this movie thats quite interesting, and its the sound effects
used that will put a big smile on your face, providing your subwoofer is up to the task,
which the S10 most certainly is. The sound effect the filmmakers use to deal with certain
characters fates can be described as deep, rounded, and so impactful that, if your
subwoofer doesnt bottom out, will first seem to kick you in the chest, and then seem
to blow apart your living-room walls. In short, the Omni S10 had the kind of impact in my
room that Id expect from a subwoofer twice its size and priced quite a bit more.
As for the v2 CC
center-channel speaker, its really the only center-channel you can consider
using with this type of system. It matches the other speakers visually and sonically, and
the way it radiates sound matches the v2 FS perfectly, helping to create a seamless
front stage where all of the speakers just disappear. As well, the v2 CC is so
compact that its cute. It takes up hardly any space and its light, and the
cup-type stands that hold it in place are so simple that they make setup a snap. Like the
v2 FS, its a rather brilliant design.
The only real caveat I have about the v2 CC is a lack
of bass. For example, I recently watched The Criterion Collections release of Lasse
Hallströms 1985 film My Life as a Dog. The sound is mono, heard only through
the center-channel speaker (as opposed to using the two mains with the same signal), which
must be up to the task of handling it all. The v2 CC has excellent clarity and, like
the v2 FS, is very-tidy-sounding and clean up top. What it lacks, though, is a real
low end, making a soundtrack like that for My Life as a Dog sound a bit thin unless
you direct some energy to the sub.
Then there are the v2 satellites used
for surrounds. Like the v2 CC, the v2 matches the rest of the system visually,
sonically, and spatially. Here, though, you have a choice as to what you can use. I was
content with the v2s in the back, but as with the v2 CC, I found that they lacked
real bass -- no surprise given their size. On the other hand, theyre so small they
take up hardly any space, and they come with a built-in mounting bracket so you can use
them on a wall. Basically, youre trading bass for small size and convenience. In a
perfect world, though, where money is limitless and youre not concerned with floor
space, its obvious that you could use a pair of v2 FSes in the back, too,
delivering more bottom end in the back channels and negating the need for any stands. That
would increase the price of the system $500, less the price of stands for the v2,
obviously. In my room, Id go that way.
But not everyone is like me -- with ample floor space and
the willingness to just plunk down extra money. Besides, floor space or not, some people
dont want another floorstander behind them. That said, theres no doubt that at
$2400 this Omnisat v2-based system with the v2 FS, v2 CC, v2, and Omni S10 is
reasonably priced, great-sounding and very well-styled.
The evolution of the Omnisat
If Mirage produced a picture of the evolution of the
Omnisat speaker, it would show the original Omnisat emerging from the far left; next to it
would be the Nanosat, which is actually quite a bit smaller than the original Omnisat and
formed the design basis for the new v2 models; following that would be the new Omnisat v2
satellite itself, more or less a grown-up version of the Nanosat; and then on the far
right, standing upright, would be the Omnisat v2 FS floorstander.
From its impressive debut in 2002, the original Omnisat has
evolved into a diversified and impressive lineup, with models that are all better than the
original Omnisat in every way and just as good a value. So, yes, that means that I believe
that this Omnisat v2 system is quite a bit better than the Omnisat 6 system I liked so much and lived with for so long. The new
Omnisat v2 series has overcome the original Omnisats "too-laid-back"
character in the mids, the strongest criticism I had of that model, and have kept the
audiophile traits of purity and cleanliness in their sound, particularly through the mids
and highs. Theyre also styled more attractively overall. Furthermore, theres a
far better blend between the speakers in this system with the Omni S10 sub than with the
Omnisat 6 system and the LF-150 sub that came with it. The LF-150 was impressive for its
bass depth and heft (it goes lower than the S10 and can fill a larger room), but it
sounded a touch slower than the Omnisats, making for some inconsistency from top to
bottom. The Omnisat v2 speakers and Omni S10 sub blend seamlessly.
I recommend Mirages Omnisat v2-based home-theater
system with even greater enthusiasm than the original Omnisat 6 system. I like the looks,
I like the sound, I like the build quality, and I especially like the fact that I
can stay home and enjoy movies more often without feeling any unease with the sound. While
this speaker system wont be a good choice for a very large room based on its
smallish size, for average-sized listening or living rooms, which is what I suspect most
people have, it will produce a soundfield that defies its size and give you a sense of
envelopment and involvement that's uncanny.
For $2400 for the whole setup, Mirages Omnisat
v2-based theater is a high-style high-end bargain.
|Receiver - Nakamichi AV-10
- Harman Kardon DVD 31
|Cables - Nordost, DH Labs
- Sony Trinitron direct-view