A few posts ago, I talked about 7.1 surround – and about how though it was mostly unnecessary for movies, I stuck with a 7.1 configuration for our room in the basement when replacing floorstanding surround speakers with wall-mounted versions to make some more space for little things like… actually being able to walk by without bumping into a speaker. The plan was just to replace the surrounds, and to stick with the Infinity Delta speakers I’d long been using as the left/center/right speakers. I knew I’d be tempted to go for consistency – but I didn’t think I’d cave in less than a month!
I had actually decided against making any changes – because getting matching Mirage speakers big enough to handle the relatively large space they’d be in was going to be a pretty expensive undertaking. We don’t get to watch movies or play games like we used to, so getting the “cost per hour” of the system down to a reasonable level would be hard – whereas the prior system had delivered somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 hours of service at a price of less than $0.50 per hour (with some of that equipment remaining in service despite the speaker updates – for now!).
What defeated these rational thoughts? Listening, unfortunately. Prior to buying the Mirage OMD-Rs, thoughts posted online fairly uniformly said that while matching the left/center/right speakers with the surrounds was desirable, it was really not that important. But after listening to some material with the new surrounds, there was a clear and noticeable difference in the sound from the rears. An audiophile – which I’m not – would have been able to characterize this precisely; to me, it just felt like there was more clarity and a different timbre. That, and the illusion of an expiring 10% discount from my first purchase with Vanns (the only authorized Mirage dealer), pushed me into placing the order. I got a pair of OMD-28 for the left and right channels, and an OMD-C2 for the center channel. The center arrived last Friday, with the main speakers showing up today.
The Mirage OMD line was designed and initially priced for the high end of the market, where prices start to get fairly crazy for barely perceptible differences. Fortunately (for me, I guess not for Mirage), that didn’t work out – and what I paid was about 1/3rd of what the speakers launched at, an amount that still seemed like a lot to spend on speakers. Mirage has been known over the years for an “omnidirectional” design that produces more diffuse sound; the manifestation of this in the OMD-28s and OMD-C2 is probably the strangest driver you’ve seen:
Being designed for a high price point left a few other interesting marks on the product…
One such thing was this kit that included with the OMD-28s:
What’s inside? Four stainless steel feet that look awfully nice for something that goes on the bottom of the speaker, and will never be seen. Except by the owner, whom they’re probably still to convince of the value of their new purchase:
Besides the feet, there’s a pair of gloves for handing the speakers without getting fingerprints on the glossy black finish. Have they met my kids? A mesh fence to put around the speakers would be more useful. It also comes with a polishing cloth to shine things up, if for some reason you care more about what the speakers look like than how they sound. I truly couldn’t take decent pictures of the speakers themselves without more effort, but here’s what they look like, complete with background clutter. First, the OMD-28s:
And finally, the OMD-C2:
So, the most important thing – how do they sound? I have no idea! The instructions say there’s a minimum 100-hour break-in period before it’s even meaningful to position and calibrate the speakers! I’m definitely getting tired of listening to the closing credits to Star Trek (the track I chose to loop for the next 98 hours). Perhaps at some point, I should make a playlist and loop that instead! I’ll just hope that the results are in line with both the original price tag, and the stellar reviews online!