Mirage OM-7, OMD-15 and OMD-28

April 26, 2010

To Doug Schneider,

I have read all the reviews on the above-mentioned Mirage models, and yours in particular several years back on the OM-7 and more recently the OMD-28. As a current OM-7 owner, I am being pulled toward the OMD-28, and pulled with authority considering the current $3k delivered price being offered. I know it’s very difficult to compare and "remember" how something sounds, but can you relate how you compare the OM-7 to the OMD-28? The OMD-28 is on the fringe of what I can afford, so the OMD-15 may be in play here also, of which I have read the review in Ultra Audio by one of your colleagues.

The real question is: Do I gain performance from either the OMD-28 or even the OMD-15 over that of the OM-7? Power is provided by an all-class-A Threshold system: Forte Model 4 amplifier and Threshold FET 10 preamp. Power output is 50W per side.

Thank you in advance for the time.


It's impossible for me to provide any kind of meaningful comparison between the OM-7 and OMD-28, but I can say this: I think the OMD-28 is the best speaker Mirage has ever made. At CES 2010 in Las Vegas, I talked with the Andrew Welker, who designed the OMD-28. Andrew is no longer with Mirage: currently, he is working for Axiom Audio. But he let me know that before he left the company, he bought a pair of OMD-28s for himself because he's so proud of the design. In my opinion, the OMD-28 is a good deal for what it originally retailed for, $8000, and is an absolute steal for $3000.

All in all, I love the OMD-28, but I do have to temper my enthusiasm for it because of one thing: it can be difficult to drive. Where this shows up mostly is in the sound of the bass. With some amplifiers, the bass sounds fat, woolly, and uncontrolled. With others, the bass is tight, deep, and visceral, as it should be. I talked to Welker about this and he found the same thing. What's more, it's difficult to tell which amplifiers will work well and which will not. You really have to try it out. I hope this helps. . . . Doug Schneider

Comparing Luxmans

April 21, 2010

To Uday Reddy,

I saw an email you answered last year about the Luxman L-509u vs. L-590A II with Aerial speakers, and thought I'd ask a quick question about your feelings about the less-expensive versions of these amps, the L-505u and the L-550A II, with Devore Nines. I totally understand if you're busy or can't reply, but thought I'd ask because I'm in a total quandary as to what to do, and there is no local Luxman dealer.

Forgetting the price difference, which do you feel is better suited for the Nines and why? I listen to a lot of jazz, folk, indie, classical and rock. In particular, I listen to a lot of guitar and intimate stuff, but also love things where the bottom end is snappy and rounded. The little kid in me feels like the L-550A II is better because it's more expensive, but I know that's just me being an idiot. So, any thoughts? Thanks!


First, I'm never too busy to reply to a reader's question; it's a great way to keep in touch with the audio community. As far as the two amps are concerned, although the L-550A II is rated at only 20Wpc, the Devore Nines (which I've heard great things about, but haven't actually had the chance to hear) are quite sensitive, so they shouldn't be too tough to drive. If you just listened to acoustic music, I'd probably lean towards the L-550A II, but since you listen to a wide variety of music, the added power and class-A/B topology of the L-505u may be better suited to your needs. While the class-A amplification of the L-550A II will have wonderful midrange reproduction, it will have less impact in the low end. If that's not enough, one reviewer whose views I really respect, John Marks, has made the L-505u his default recommendation for an integrated amplifier. His previous go-to amplifier? My current amp, Jeff Rowland's Concentra. . . . Uday Reddy

A new DAC to pair with Squeezebox Touch

April 17, 2010

I have read with interest the computer audio columns that were recently written. I have a keen interest as my wife has asked me to streamline the software a bit to reduce lost volume (in our house due) to CDs and LPs. As such, I have started a search for equipment that would stream my ripped audio to my stereo system that is downstairs. I think I have a solution in the Squeezebox Touch that will stream 24/96 audio. I will use an iPad w/iPeng to control the setup. I have the following questions:

1) Will connections pass 24/96 and/or 24/192 signals (Squeezebox specs currently say 24/96, but I can always hope for a firmware upgrade)?

2) Do you know of a DAC that will take a digital signal (optical or coax) and convert high-resolution formats that is priced in the same realm as the HRT Music Streamer+?

Currently my system is all Linn circa 2000: Majik, Genki, Keilidh. I would think once this is up and running the Genki will be eliminated and the electronics would then be the Squeezebox, Majik and (hopefully) a DAC. I also have a Rega P3-24 turntable that I am loathe to give up.

I really think a computer, mobile, wireless audio and video page should be part of the SoundStage! Network. Keep up the great work!


Chris Benten

Good suggestion! We’re getting a lot of feedback about computer-based audio. Now, your questions: If the specifications say 24/96, assume that’s all you’re going to get. There’s no guarantee a firmware upgrade will give you 24/192. The hardware might not be able to handle it. Offhand, I can’t recommend a converter that will meet your needs, but I’m pretty sure there’s something out there that will do it. What you’re asking for is not unique. My suggestion is to not just limit your shopping to products designed for the home. Many products designed for pro audio (i.e., studios, home recording, etc.) are versatile and inexpensive. . . . Doug Schneider

Transporter still viable?

April 10, 2010

To Doug Schneider,

I read your review of the Slim Devices Transporter recently. Although the review is a few years old, is the Transporter still a viable option (I can buy it new for $999.85 at a local dealer) or should I consider something else? It seems that there are AVRs that can pretty much do the same thing and have a better DAC such as 32-bit Burr-Browns. I've looked at Denon and Onkyo AVRs. Any advice you have to give me would be greatly appreciated.



It's been more than three years since I reviewed the Transporter that, at the time, was made by Slim Devices. Shortly after, Logitech bought Slim Devices. Despite its age, I still think very highly of the original Transporter, likely because it was a product that was ahead of its time when it was released. The Transporter's performance, even by today's standards, is outstanding, and I love how intuitive its user interface is. Therefore, I can certainly still recommend it, particularly for the price you can buy it for. . . . Doug Schneider

Power hungry!

April 5, 2010

To Doug Schneider,

I have a quick question for you regarding your review of the Revel Ultima Salon2 speakers. I am getting a pair of Salon2s and need to determine what amp to get. I have read that I need more than 400Wpc in some articles, and then I find that you powered these adequately with 100 to 175Wpc, but you recommend 250-300Wpc.

Would you please let me know how important this really is? I am thinking of getting a 300Wpc Levinson No.532H to run these with, but even the technical support guy at Revel in Indiana told me I need 550Wpc to 600Wpc into 6 ohms.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer. I enjoyed your article, by the way!

Best regards,

Dave Olson

Ample power is important if you want them to play really loud. For every 3dB increase in volume, you need a doubling of amplifier power. So if you’re using a 100Wpc amp and it’s close to its limit and you want to increase the volume by 3dB, you’re going to have to move to a 200Wpc amp. For another 3dB, you’ll need 400Wpc. It’s not hard to see how the numbers add up.

I found 150Wpc sufficient for my listening tastes, but I recommended 250-300Wpc for the additional headroom it provides. Certainly, 500-600Wpc would provide even more, but I’d never personally use that much. By the way, congratulations on the speakers -- they are amazing! . . . Doug Schneider

Classé question

April 3, 2010

To Doug Schneider,

Thank you for the great review of the Classé Audio CAP-2100 integrated amplifier. I love the styling and touchscreen of this amp; for me, it still offers a refreshing change from the boxy look of most other models. But I’m not sure how well it would perform with my Aerial Acoustics Model 6 speakers, which have a sensitivity of 86dB and require 50 to 250W. Even at moderate volume levels, do you think the Model 6 would benefit from more power than the CAP-2100 offers?

As attractive as the Classé is, I don’t want to sacrifice sound quality for aesthetics. There are lots of other integrated amplifiers to choose from.



The answer will depend largely on the size of your room and how loud you like your music. The speakers must play louder to energize a larger space than a smaller one, and for each 3dB increase in volume level you require a doubling of amplifier power. Therefore, it's pretty easy to see why someone might need an amp that can put out 200Wpc versus 100Wpc, which is what the CAP-2100 delivers. That said, given what I know about your speakers (not much, I'm mostly going from the specifications you provided), you might be fine with this amplifier if you keep your listening levels moderate and your room is not too large, and, also, you don't want the effortless quality that much more powerful amplifiers can provide, even when they're not pushed to their limits. For example, the 200Wpc Classé CA-5200 power amplifier I used sounds less strained than the CAP-2100, even at low listening levels where they're probably only delivering a few watts of power. Sorry I can't be more definite in my response, but I’m hopeful the information I’ve provided can lead you to a proper decision, or at least gave you some things to think about. . . . Doug Schneider