It’s the time of year for saving money!
Before I answer that question let me give you a bit of
background, or backstory if you will. Mirage is a Canadian speaker company that began in 1977. It was among several
companies that included Energy, Paradigm, and PSB, who used the facilities at
the Canadian National Research Lab to develop and refine their speaker designs. In 1996 Mirage introduced the
first of their OM speaker designs, the OM-6. Since then the company has
continued to refine their Ominpolar™ technology.
In 2006 the Klipsch Group acquired Audio Products
International Corp, Mirage’s parent company. The first change they made was to
move Mirage into more mass-market retail outlets. Since then Mirage line has
evolved from specialty product manufacturer to a purveyor of mid-priced
offerings. What has not changed is the best part of Mirage’s core technology.
Nowadays if you want to buy Mirage speakers on the
Internet you have one choice – Vanns. They have become the exclusive dealer for
Mirage, at what appears to be blow-out prices. The OMD-5 speaker had an original suggested list price of $399 each, although Vanns
sells them for $169.88 for gloss black finish or $149.88 for rosewood or Oak.
That’s quite some discount!
Three weeks ago I got an email offer from Vanns where they
offered the oak version of the OMD-5 for $119.88 each. I broke down and bought
a pair. I wanted to try the OMD-5 in two different applications – as rear
surround speakers and as desktop monitors.
How well did they work out? Well enough that I bought a
Take it from someone who routinely looks at four, five and
even six-figure loudspeakers – the OMD-5 doesn’t look or feel like a budget
speaker. The Oak veneer is a burled wood, full of unique figuring. Even the
bottoms of the speakers are slickly finished. With decent five-way binding
posts, a titanium dome tweeter with a matching titanium sandwich
mid-range/woofer driver and magnetically attached grill
covers, the OMD-5 has a level of fit and finish that rivals what I’m used to
seeing from offering min-monitors with another 0 on the end of their
Sonically the OMD-5 is among the most open and
dimensionally convincing speakers I’ve used on my desktop, regardless of price.
When set up properly, which will be slightly wider apart than most speakers,
they disappear. And I don’t mean almost. Also the OMD-5 have a sweet top end
that has no trace of metallic edginess that often accompanies budget-priced
titanium tweeters. A good part of this comes from the tweeter’s upward firing
position – there’s no way you can be on-axis in the tweeter’s hot-zone.
In my desktop system, driven by several different
amplifiers, including a Parasound A-23, Perreaux E-110, and Bel Canto Ref 1000
II, the OMD-5 proved to be dynamic and detailed yet musical. I also had no
trouble blending the OMD-5 with the Velodyne DD 10+ subwoofer. And while it may seem crazy to mate a $240 pair of speakers with a $2999
subwoofer, the Velodyne delivered just the right amount of midbass energy to
fill in the lower region of the OMD-5’s range where its power handling, due to
its cabinet volume, becomes limited.
As rear surround speakers the OMD-5 worked beautifully.
With their 30/70 split between direct and reflected sound, the OMD-5 offers a
very usable alternative between direct monopole and dipole surround speakers.
Especially in smaller rooms where space is at a premium, the OMD-5’s small
footprint and diffuse soundfield makes it so they can be much closer to your
ears without becoming overly directional. You can even install the OMD-5 speakers
on the ceiling, upside down so they fire downwards if you have a higher ceiling. An omni-directional speaker like the OMD-5 can be the magic bullet that makes a surround system work in an undersized room.
So, if you’re on a tight budget and long for a well above
average $400 speaker for less than $150, do yourself a favor and look at the
Mirage OMD-5 speaker. You, too, may well end up buying more than one pair…