Ohm Walsh 3/3000 upgrade comments.......

Just to provide a little background information, some of which has already been stated in a couple other threads previously, on my quest to find a pair of Ohms. I remember listening to a pair of Ohm Walsh 2’s and 4’s some 25 years ago at a dealer near my home. They were one of the most unusual looking speakers at the time, with the cool looking pyramid-style cabinets and funky metal canister drivers on the top. But what made the deal for me was the music coming from them. Very unique and awesome soundstaging and I didn’t have to be in the sweet-spot!

At the time I had a pair of Magnepan MG-1’s, and while I loved everything about the music they made, I had a difficult time living with the head-in-vise seating in order to totally enjoy them. So, I bought a pair of Ohm Walsh 2’s on the spot and lived with them for about 5 or 6 years. I think I thought about them from the day I sold them and regretted ever getting rid of them. A couple of my friends had Ohm’s, one had a pair of 2’s and the other a pair of 4’s. I always wanted 4’s, but at the time, a little out of reach. Of course we all lusted after F’s even though I had never heard them.

So, moving on to a little over a year and a half ago, I began searching for a pair of Ohm’s. I was looking for a pair that had good condition cabinets. The drivers to me weren’t all that important as my research and a call to John at Ohm confirmed that he could get me set up with a number of driver solutions. I was happy to even find that Ohm was still doing business, as once they went away from dealer reps, I wasn’t sure if they were still around.

After a little searching, I came up with a pair of Walsh 2’s and eagerly awaited for them to arrive. In the meantime, I had already ordered from John a pair of the new Walsh 2000 series drivers and was playing around with them on a friend’s pair of 2’s. This gave me some time to do some small comparisons with the older drivers, and also get some break-in time on the new 2000’s.

Disaster then struck on the delivery of my Walsh 2’s. When I received them from Oops(UPS), one of the cabinets and driver had been crushed. It looked like the speaker had fallen off the back of the truck directly on the driver can. Not a pretty sight at all. I was sick, as was my friend that had sent them to me. So, back to the drawing board. I was quickly able to locate a pair of Walsh 3XO cabinets in near mint shape, and bought them on the spot. In talking with John at Ohm, he told me the 2000 series drivers would indeed work on the 3 cabinet as well, with a little modification to the driver board. As I thought about this, another idea came to mind. Why not just spring for the larger 3000 series driver for the 3XO cabinets and be done with it?

Another call to John and a set of 3000 drivers were sent to me. This was the first set of 3000 drivers that John had sold, and with this brought a couple of complications on the driver mounting. John and I worked through the couple of small problems that I had, and finally, I had a set of Walsh 3/3000’s! I might also add that I was able to get a pretty good impression of the Walsh 2/2000 or Super Walsh 2 as they are called, during the time I spent waiting and playing around with cabinets etc. Briefly, I can say that they are all cut from the same cloth, same great soundstaging, voicing etc. only that the 3000 and the larger 3XO cabinet would allow them to dig deeper. In the end, I think my decision to go with the 3000 in my room was a better choice.

Those of you with older cabinets looking to upgrade, installation of the new cans is very straight forward. The 2/2000 a bit more complicated, but nothing that a person who is handy with a screwdriver and a bit of patience can’t handle. The 2000 can is larger than the original 2 cans, so you get a driver board on which the new driver is mounted, and with 4 screws this is mounted on top of the baffle/driver board. You also receive taller outer grilles because of the additional height of the driver board/can, and also a new terminal cup and mounting board. The hardest part is knocking out the old terminal board and mounting the new one.

The 3000 series driver can is a direct replacement for the 3/3XO driver cans. It drops right into the existing mounting hole, four screws secure the driver to the baffle/driver board, and you also receive a new terminal board as well. The 3000 driver can may be slightly taller, and I believe the driver is a bit bigger inside as well, but the original grilles will work just fine. I might add too that the new drivers have a Molex plug, and just plug into the wiring going from the driver to the terminal board. Nice and easy.

I am also sure that the whole process could have been made easier-and I am sure that John would agree as well-that instead of me looking for cabinets myself, I could have just contacted John at Ohm and had him make me up a new set. But, I am pretty picky, and I wanted an extremely good condition pair of older pyramid-style cabinets. John can supply those as well depending on his stock of older cabinets. So, keep that in mind. All in all, even with a couple small difficulties on the driver mounting, I found that John was extremely great to work with, and the whole process went well. John is a wealth of information on all of Ohm’s products, setup, and history.

Okay, while this might not be considered a review, as I am not worthy of being a true “reviewer”, I will try to give some perspective of the Ohm’s along with a brief comparison of the original drivers as well. I might add that while my 3/3000 project was underway, I was able to find a pair of great condition original 3XO drivers. One of the cans metal grill was loose, but the foam surrounds and tweeters were in fabulous condition. I bought them up thinking about a small shoot-out against the new drivers. I am glad I had them on hand.

After spending a great deal of time with Ohm’s again, I realized what I truly love about these speakers, even after all these years. I find myself totally immersed in the music they make, and instead of music being thrown at me like so many dynamic forward-firing speakers do, the Ohm’s present music in a fashion that I find more realistic, more like true live performances. While I have heard the Ohm’s called too diffuse, and ill-defined, I don’t feel that to be the case at all. Instead, I much prefer the large soundstage and lifelike images that are produced by them. I use live music/concerts as a reference, and while I know this can be a crap-shoot of sorts, I find the Ohm to be more true to live music as many forward-firing speakers that I have listened to.

Speaking of the soundstage that is reproduced by the Ohm, another aspect I find so very realistic is the image height. The Ohm’s present the performers as a real live person in height, not some miniaturization of who is on stage. To me, this is another positive aspect that makes listening to them more fun, more involving and pleasurable. In reference, I have been used to Magnepans for quite some time and thought they would never be replaced in my main system. Image height was always one of the Maggies trademarks as well, and one I find to be important. The Ohm’s do this as good if not better in my listening room.

Of course the soundstaging that stretches out across the room, and image height that is so realistic wouldn’t be much good if the sonic characteristics of the speaker wasn’t good to begin with would it? Well, I can say that the treble is smooth and precise, has all the air you could want, and it doesn’t ever get spitty or sibilant. I would suppose that if you had some really terrible recording, it will only pass that along, but on well recorded music, the treble and midrange just shine. Voices, both male and female are reproduced with a clarity and accuracy that makes me want to hear more. I like to use K.D. Lang as one of my test vocals, and spin her CD “Ingenue” quite often. I also like Norah Jones, and have heard her live as well, the Ohm’s manage both of these vocalists with ease and clarity. I keep coming back for more.

Not to be outdone is the bass. It is solid as they come and not one-note or some blob of booming noise that so often robs music of it’s timing and structure. In living with my Magnepan MG-1’s and MMG’s, there is little bass to speak of, so the Ohm’s bass is a welcome addition to my music room. I find the Ohm’s much easier to place and integrate into the system than trying to get subs to work with the Maggies. I would say the 3000’s dig down into the mid 30 Hz range in my room, and that it is always tuneful and never out of control-unless the music of choice is to begin with. One thing of note too, I mentioned that originally I was going to fix up a pair of Walsh 2’s. I ended up with 3’s instead. If you are going to purchase a pair of Ohm’s, be certain to calculate your room size correctly and consult with John. The Walsh 2’s were just at the minimum requirement for getting the bass out of them that I needed. The 2’s struggled a bit in my room, the 3’s were far better. As with all of the Ohm’s, you get the same basic “family” of sound, same treble, midrange, but the larger cabinets obviously bring about better and deeper bass.

My music choices typically range from pop recordings to jazz, a little gospel and R&B thrown in. I can say that the Ohm’s shine on it all, and while they don’t bring attention to themselves, they just make great music, and that is what I am after. Are the Ohm’s after all these years outdated? No, even as I listened to the older drivers in the 2’s and the 3’s, the music was all still there. Maybe some rougher edges and not quite as detailed, but still wonderful transducers. Briefly, what I found with the new versus older drivers was a level of detail that the older drivers just didn’t have. The midrange and treble of the 1000 series of drivers is just better all around, greater detail, ability to play louder without becoming strident and shrill, and overall just smoother and more listenable. The bass on the newer drivers dig a bit deeper and is not wooly sounding. I thought the original driver bass could lack a bit of definition at times and just not sound as clear. Maybe even tubby at times. The new driver cures this in the 2000 and the 3000. Also I feel as if the speaker as a whole is more open, the soundstaging even more improved and open, and the older speakers were no slouches in that department to begin with.

The newer drivers are supposed to be a bit more efficient as well, I can’t really tell though. I drove them mainly with my Anthem MCA-20 rated at 200 WPC, and also my Audio Research D130 at 130 WPC. Both amplifiers drove them to levels that could be unbearable without any break-up from amp or speaker. I do feel that the Ohm’s do require some power/current behind them, and anyone considering them should watch what amplifier they have to power them. I didn’t find the Ohm to be fussy, they just loved the power. One other thing that goes along with this, I find they like to be played loud(er). While they didn’t lose focus or detail at lower volumes, they were just more fun and enjoyable at a higher volumes(not excessive).

To sum the Ohm’s up, when I think about what they do, is pretty simple. They just make great music, they pass along what is given them in the chain, no more, no less. And for me, they are one of the most realistic sounding speakers I have heard and had the pleasure to own. For me, that is the greatest compliment I can give to a speaker. I think that John Strohbeen has done a fantastic job in voicing these speakers! I come away from a listening session with a great admiration for what he has accomplished with these. I hope Ohm and John is around for a long time to come, I look forward to what he may come up with next. Now if I could just find a way to purchase the 5000’s!

If you are in the market for a pair of speakers, I would certainly urge you to give them a try. Too many people pass them by for whatever reason, not audiophile approved or whatever, but that is a shame. These are great speakers worthy of an audition, and with John’s extremely generous in-home trial period, it is hard to go wrong! If you are just in the market for upgrading your older Ohm’s, again, give John a call, there are many options and he will be happy to go through them with you.I believe the driver upgrade to be worth the money, and to be able to bring new life to an older pair of speakers is an even better deal. Sorry if this sounds like a full-on Ohm plug, it is of sorts, but also I am just a very happy customer! Enjoy the music, that is what we are hopefully after to begin with!

Tempting, tempting.

John is having a sale on the classic cabinets with the latest drivers.


John closes shop for JUly usually and seems to run this sale prior most of the time.

I picked up my 5s during this sale a few years back. Deep discount on new + max trade-in value equaled an especially good deal.

Plus I am partial to the older pyramid shaped cabinets anyhoo.
Coming in a bit late to this, but I just wanted to give public kudos to John & Ohm. I'm mostly a lurker on these forums as I don't feel I know enough to significantly add to the conversations, but I have been an Ohm fan for about 13 years now starting with a pair of Walsh 2s, then moving up to 200s, next having my 2s upgraded to 100 MK-2s. Back in August I traded in my 200s for a pair of 3000 drivers in Walsh 4 cabinets (what a great deal that John offers this both as a way of recycling older speakers and giving those of us who like the shape an opportunity to keep beloved cabinets!) and I judged they had finally broken in enough to be properly judged. As much as I liked my old 200s, this next generation is the bomb. First off, most vividly to me, there's a sharpness to the sound, a sharpness one only finds with live music. Acoustic instruments in particular sound especially life-like. Now I did update my amplifier to an SMc Audio-modded DNA-125 and I'm sure this is helping, but I'm most impressed & satisfied with this sharpness.

Other impressions are the stereo imaging as well as the separation. Quite wonderful. The sound stage depth is really something and detail, front to back, great. From highs to mid-range to bass, the mix is so very natural. As mentioned earlier I absolutely love the older pyramid shape and the larger cabinets allow the bass to get very low.

I really love these speakers and can't imagine upgrading for a long, long time. And I've always been exceedingly happy to see that there are a good number of Ohm aficionados here!
Slightly OT

In my main system, I cycle my speakers from time to time. Ohm 100s to MMGs and back with a pair of Rythmik subs on bottom. The Ohms just rotated back into service (after +/- 4 months of MMG service) and reminded me just how good they are.