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. 

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! 
This is a long description of my ownership experience, ending with a discovery I made that worked for me.  I hope this may be of help to others. 

I bought my new Ohm Walsh 2000s about 10 months ago, and have been a little ”torn" on deciding just how much I like them, until recently.  From the beginning they felt a little too thin and airy, like the mid/upper bass was just a little too light.  I knew they are very position dependent, and I spent a lot of time trying slightly different locations.  Too close to the wall and the lower bass gets boomy and muddy; too far from the wall and all the voices reminded me of children's voices, with all others sounds just lacking in fullness.  At the best position I could find for my room, it was good.  Just good, not great.  After all the steller reviews, and almost $3,000 spent, I was kind of disappointed.  Except there were flashes of greatness, where certain instruments sounded so much like it was in the room with me that it was startling.  And the sweet spot is, as advertised, a really big portion of the room.  The imaging is good, I think.  It does sound like the music is coming from the entire front wall of my great room, instead of just  a couple point sources.  I should mention that I do have a nice subwoofer, but the "problem" is more in the mid and upper bass.

I let the return period pass because of the hassle of trying to (triple!) rebox these big, heavy things, and the expense of shipping, and thinking that maybe my expectations were unrealistic and maybe this is about the best I can get at this price point.  I haven't actually heard many high end systems, so most of my expectations are just based on written reviews and YouTube videos (looking at you, Zeos!).  Then a few months ago (while looking for ways to improve the sound after realizing that I really should have returned them while I could), I read an article on the Ohm Walsh website about "How big is a big room".  It seemed to me that the problem is that my great room is much bigger than is recommended for the 2000s.  I talked to Evan about this, and he agreed that it sounded like I would benefit from moving up to the 4000's or the SSC 4900.    They were willing to give me a 75% trade in value, but that felt steep to me considering that I was only 2 months beyond the free return period and I was buying a much more expense set of speakers from them.  Still, it was truly my fault for not taking care of this during the very generous 4 month trial period.  

While debating my options (and continuing to try to decide if there even was an actual problem at all), I read something about Dirac room correction software.  I already had a MiniDSP 2x4HD, and it could be downloaded as a software upgrade.  Dirac is supposed to automatically measure and compensate for some of the acoustic flaws that all rooms have, but in some way that goes beyond a typical EQ, something involving phase and timing.  It also allows manual tweaking of the target frequency response curve.   I had played with making some eq-type changes using the MiniDSP parametric equalizer and REQ room acoustic analysis software, but that gets very complicated and I just didn't have that kind of time.  The results I got from my brief efforts: meh.  So, I ran the Dirac room correction on the stock/recommended frequncy curve, and it sounded better!  After a couple weeks, ran it again and played with the frequency response curve to boost the bass a little (a lot!) more, and now it sounds exactly like I always wished it did.  Exactly!  I love the sound of everything it plays, now!  Couldn't be happier.  And I had no idea that I was a bass-head!


I think most people like bass and tend to like it a little bumped up.  No shame in that, it's part of the fun, and the fletcher munson curve effect is well documented.

If you have a bigger room, it's nice that the DSP is helping, but you owe it to yourself to keep an eye out for some used 4000's or 5000's (4900's used would be very tough to find).

Your 2000's would sell rather quickly if history is any indicator.

I've got the 5000's in a 13 x 17 x 9 room, I run the bass and mid-bass "in the middle" as far as the adjustments go.  They thump and I have no need for a subwoofer, I could adjust the EQ if necessary.  Also nice for home theater as I now have my subwoofer in the back of the room, and with the mains crossed at 40 for HT I am getting a more even bass response in the room since the OHM's put out such great bass.

But, you would love the 5000's I suspect.  Essentially a 4 band EQ built into the speaker.

That said, new - the 4900's are the bargain!

Osteopic1 - You might also look at a subwoofer or 2. A pair of subs crossed at 50 Hz will take a lot of the load from your speakers, extend your response to below 20 Hz, and increase both system dynamics AND soundstage.

Subs that would work well without breaking the bank include:

1. A pair of HSU Research ULS-15 Mark II's for about $1600 USD delivered to your door. Extension to 20 Hz. 

2. A single Axiom EP-800 for $2750 less a discount if you call Ian (the owner) directly. Extension to 13 Hz. I use one with a pair of 4900's, and it's incredible. 

3. A variety of other subs that are not quite as musical as the units mentioned above, but still attractive price points. SVS, Power Sound Audio, and entry level REL come to mind. 
I have been a 2000 owner since 2009, one of the first pairs sold.  Not for nuthin', as e say in NJ, but the room square footage appropriate for each of the x000 series is posted on the Ohm web site.  The Ohm Walsh x000 series all sound essentially the same, although larger models have deeper extension and higher output.  So, unless you want to move to a larger model, a sub or subs would help with the overall output issue.  Even though my 2000s are appropriate for my room, I run them with a pair of Vandersteen 2Wq subs, crossed over at 80Hz, first order.  I couldn't be happier with the results.
Thanks for the replies, and suggestions!  I will be watching for any used 4000s or 5000s in SW Florida (I hate the idea of entrusting delicate and expensive anything to the shipping companies).  I'm sure that the sound would be in some way better than DSP adjusted sound for playing my 2000s in a room bigger than they are suited for.  That said, the sound I have right now is pretty great!

I do have a good 12" Velodyne subwoofer for music, and a not-so-good Klipsh subwoofer that is just used for LFE with movies.  Because of that, the problem was never the low bass, but more like the 80-800 Hz range.  And the reason I got the 2000s despite seeing the room size recommendations was my own ignorance.  My "listening area" is about 18x20x8.  2880 ft3 is appropriate for 2000s, and Evan actually said I could go down to the 1000s if I preferred.  However, this listening area (living room) is just one part of a much bigger room as it is open to a kitchen area to the back, a dining area to one side, and an entrance area to the other side.  Just looking at the walls, the whole room is more like 8000 cubic feet.  I didn't understand that is what matters, not where the couches are!  Oh well, live and learn.  These Ohms replaced a pair of Vienna Acoustics Schonberg speakers that sounded good, but not amazing.  Well, those have been moved into the master bedroom, where they suddenly sound truly amazing; I guess they weren't suited for 8,000 cubic feet either!