Review: Ohm Acoustics Ohm Walsh 100 Series 3 Speaker

Category: Speakers

I wanted to offer up some info that may be useful to those considering taking the plunge with the Ohm Walsh line for two channel stereo that might seek to gain entry at a minimal price point.

That would be accomplished with the Ohm Micro Walsh model for about $1000. I'd refer the reader to the review on sixmoons for more information on that model and Ohm, the company.

This review is about the Ohm Walsh 100 series 3, which provides a larger Ohm Walsh CLS driver than the micros.

After that comes the still larger 200 series 3 driver and then the 300 or 5 series 3 which utilizes the largest driver capable of providing the most extended and dynamic bass in the largest rooms.

The general rule of thumb with the Ohm Walsh line is the larger the driver, the more extended and realistic the bass response in a larger room. Chosing the right model really is that simple. See the website or contact Ohm for more info.

When shopping for Ohm Walsh speakers second hand or used, the most important thing to be aware of is that there have been 3 major versions of the Walsh CLS driver that Ohm has used since its introduction in the very early 80s. Each sound different with the original 80s vintage drivers sounding least refined and the more recent (since 2006 or so) series 3 the most refined. These have the smoothest response, best detail, and best imaging accuracy. All models throw huge soundstages. The series 3 is probably the best here also, but the difference is more marginal in my opinion.

Also, Ohm regularly will customize the internal driver configuration to better suit a particular customers needs. Plus, Ohm users have been upgrading older Walsh CLS speaker systems with newer drivers for around 20 years now.

The bottom line is, other than driver size, unless the seller can confirm the exact series and configuration in side the "cage", it can be difficult or even impossible to know for certain exactly what is in there or exactly what it will sound like, even if in perfect operating condition.

So bottom line is trust but verify when buying used to know exactly what you are getting.

Now, on to the 100 series 3. THe model I own that I am referring to in this review is the Ohm "Super Walsh 2". These are original but refurbished 80's vintage Walsh 2 cabinets modified and fitted by Ohm with the latest Ohm 100 series 3 driver system.

There is a lot of information available already on the general sound of the Ohm Walsh line.

The value added information I can provide here comes from having had 3 different variations of Ohm Walsh CLS speakers set up in the same system and room for careful a/b comparison.

I can offer comparison of the 100 series 3 system with the larger and top of the Ohm line Walsh 5 series 3 and the original 80' vintage Ohm Walsh 2s that I owned prior and concurrently recently for several months.

First, let me address the 100 series 3 drivers in the Walsh 2s compared to the originals base on my experience hearing both in exactly the same listening environment.

The most useful thing I tell you here is that if you dismissed the Ohms back in the 80s due to concerns with timbre, detail and even imaging accuracy, these were valid concerns, but are no longer with the latest series 3 drivers.

Based on my experience owning several other popular brands like Magnepan, B&W, Triangle and Dynaudio these will compete favorably in all aspects of good sound with almost anything. The sound will tend to resemble that you might hear with other more omnidirectional designs however. MBL would probably be the best known. These can be placed closer to walls than many true omni designs however.

Currently the 100 series 3 speaks sit in the same 30X20 L shaped room where my larger Walsh 5 series 3s were, connected to the same system identically as well. The only difference is the speakers used and a slight adjustment in placement about 1 foot closer to the rear wall.

So what's the difference in sound? Not much. I have been amazed to find that the only difference I notice is perhaps a little less on the low end and perhaps a touch less meat on the bones in regards to overall impact, but even this is very marginal at best. You might be able to detect the difference more clearly with perhaps a pipe organ recording that gets down there in the low end.

One thing to note is that the Ohm 5s could go into a much larger room if I had one. The difference with the 100 series 3 would probably become more obvious as well in a larger room.

The fact that the much smaller 100 series 3, true to Ohms claims, really does sound so much like the larger Walsh 5 series 3 in a fairly decent sized room is quite a discovery in my mind.

Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System

Similar products
- Ohm Walsh 2 (original design, eighties vintage)

- Ohm Walsh 5 Series 3 (larger model for larger rooms with onboard level adjustments for room acoustics)

Dynaudio Countour 1.3 mkII

- B&W P6

- Magnepan mg1.3c
The upgrade for mine are:
4.3 S3 upgrade - $2300
4.5 S3 upgrade - $3200

Right now, a little out of my price range.
I emailed John to see what I might get for the 4's.
You must have a larger room.

There is a 4.2 upgrade for ~$1500 listed on the website but it would be for more moderate sized rooms.
Good evening all,

Tell me, which model of the Ohm Walsh speaker system can equal the Magnapan 1.6 in a sound stage that's complete in height, specificity, width and depth? I listen mostly to modern jazz, big bands and small goups, and classical music. My preference is 16th, 17th and 18th century choral and orchestral music.

I love the human voice. I listen mostly to records but also have a number of Redbook CD's. I look forward to all comments. I also want to hear from anyone who has purchased the early Ohm speakers and then had them upgraded. Thank you so much.

It depends mostly on room size.

Please provide the dimensions of your room and if anything unusual or special about it?

My OHM F5s replaced a pair of full size Maggies prior in the same room. They are most outstanding with big band music and voices, hard to beat!
I have owned Walsh 4's from the 80's and upgraded with new speaker cans from Ohm ($1200) after listening to current speaker offerings and being disappointed. One caution, at least in my experience, is that the amplifier must be matched to this speaker. I use an equally old Classe DR 3, 25 watts class A, high current design(80 w is recommended). When attempting to replace it with a 100 w tube amp the base became bloated. Thus this is the warning: I believe the dampening factor is too low on tubes. The base is there, taking control of it is an important issue. I checked out the Blue Circle class A (I think BC 2) and it loses power with lower impedance. Though 6 ohms is claimed it is average. I think I read somewhere that the base is down to 2 or 4 ohm impedance, whereas the DR 3's power increases at lower impedance. It is in the design of the amp, so be careful.
The latest change made is using a passive pre-amp. The sound is fantastically clear and sweet.
I listen to all types of music and enjoy the electric base as well as the sweet sound of acoustic instruments. Ohm Walsh performs very well and I have no complaints.
Another issue is that the best sound I've obtained is in my current house, with a stone fireplace behind the speakers to reflect the sound coming out the back and a 10-foot cathedral ceiling to lose the sound coming out the top. The speakers need a reflective wall behind them to give the transparent sound stage. Good Listening.