|Mirage OMNI Series Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Thomas Garcia|
|Saturday, 01 November 2003|
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In the never-ending search for the perfect loudspeaker system, there are a number of approaches that a manufacturer can take during the engineering and design process of a new product. At minimum, the majority of loudspeaker designers would agree that certain prerequisites, such as low distortion and a relatively flat, smooth frequency response, are fundamental criteria for creating a good sounding speaker. How each manufacturer attempts to achieve this end goal varies tremendously. Direct radiators, dipoles, bipoles, and point-source loudspeakers are but a few of the options available, each creating their own unique dispersion pattern and interaction within the listening environment. All are intended to decipher the musical and sound experience as accurately as possible. The question of which engineering technique is best suited to recreate the original performance in our own listening environments has been, and will continue to be, a hot topic of debate, greatly influenced by personal preference.
Mirage has a definite idea of how sound should be reproduced, and has been designing many revered loudspeakers featuring bipolar radiating patterns since the late ‘80s. The well-respected Canadian manufacturer now offers the consumer an additional option with their OMNI Series Omnipolar Speaker System. Operating in a basically omni-directional dispersion pattern, their Omnipolar technology is stated by Mirage to produce the same amount of direct and reflected sound as experienced at live acoustical events. Through their extensive research, Mirage concluded that these amounts are approximately 70 percent reflected and 30 percent direct energy. This new series incorporates what Mirage refers to as OMNIGUIDE, a proprietary module that produces a forward-biased spherical dispersion pattern that claims to reproduce sound to these proportions. The Mirage system for this review incorporated the OMNI 260 floor-standing speakers for the front mains ($500 each), an OMNI CC center channel ($400 each), two OMNI FX surround speakers ($200 each), and a single OM-200 subwoofer for low frequency effects ($1000 each).
Residing at the top of the OMNI Series is the quasi three-way OMNI 260 floorstanding tower. This model utilizes the unique driver configuration consisting of Mirage’s OMNIGUIDE module that houses a one-inch PTH tweeter. The entire assembly is positioned on an angled platform at the top of the loudspeaker. This module is suspended over a 6-1/2 inch titanium deposit driver, which covers the midrange and mid-bass frequencies. Mirage placed a small dispersion disc above the upward-firing tweeter and used the tweeter housing to disperse the angled midrange mid-bass driver, creating a relative omni-directional radiating pattern. Additionall.y there is a front firing six-and-a-half-inch titanium deposit driver and a specially tuned flared port that augments the bass down to a reported 35Hz. At a rated load impedance of eight ohms nominal (four ohms minimum), the 260s should be easy for any receiver or amplifier to drive. They have a claimed frequency response that extends from 35Hz to 20kHz +/- 3dB. Each tower speaker has two removable grilles, one positioned on top that covers the OMNIGUIDE module assembly, with an additional cover for the front-firing bass driver and port. The OMNI 260s are magnetically shielded and constructed of three-quarter-inch MDF that is covered in a high quality vinyl wrap. Loudspeaker cable connections are made via high quality five-way binding posts that offer ample room for quick and easy termination. Dimensions for the 260s are 42 inches high by 9 inches wide by 15 inches deep, giving the speakers a slim and sleek profile. Total weight for each speaker is 55 pounds. Also included are stabilizing legs that extend out past the base of the speakers, which are equipped with threaded spiked feet. The two color choices for the OMNI 260 are black ash or cherry.
The Mirage OMNI CC center channel is no less unique, utilizing a similar driver configuration to the 260s. With a one-inch PTH tweeter positioned over a three-inch polypropylene midrange driver, the OMNI CC is timbre-matched to blend with any of the Mirage line of loudspeakers, and is designed to mimic the radiating pattern of the 260. Flanking the tweeter and midrange assembly are dual five-and-a-half-inch polypropylene titanium deposit hybrid woofers with wide dispersion patterns. All drivers are located on a slope face towards the top of the speaker and are covered with a two-piece grille assembly. This three-way center channel creates a reported frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz +/- 3dB. Similar to the 260, the OMNI CC is rated at a load impedance of eight ohms nominal (four ohms minimum). The OMNI CC is constructed of 5/8-inch MDF and is magnetically shielded to eliminate any potential interaction when placed above a tube television. With the dimensions of eight inches high by 21 inches wide by 10 inches high, and a weight of 25 pounds, the OMNI CC can be easily placed on top of most monitors. Offered in the same color options as the 260, the OMNI CC provides the same high quality binding post and ease of access as the OMNI 260.
Using similar OMNIGUIDE technology and driver configurations, the OMNI FX is an excellent choice as a matching surround speaker for any of the OMNI Series loudspeakers. The OMNI FX utilizes a one-inch PTH tweeter and one five-and-a-half-inch polypropylene woofer and is rated at eight ohms nominal impedance (four ohms minimum), with a frequency response of 80Hz to 20kHz +/- 3dB. Designed to be wall-mounted, the OMNI FX is virtually identical to the OMNI 260 and OMNI CC with the distinction of the drivers being rotated 90 degrees. This positions the tweeter facing forward, rather than the upward-firing configuration of the front three channels. Again, the module acts as a diffuser for the woofer, with the tweeter and an identical diffuser disc placed in front of the dome, creating a broad spherical dispersion pattern and minimizing localization of the surround speakers. Petite in size, the OMNI FX is a mere 11 inches high by eight inches wide by seven inches deep, each weighing 9 pounds. Mirage uses 5/8-inch MDF for the FX speaker enclosure and offers color options of black or white. The OMNI FX uses slightly different binding posts than the OMNI 260 and OMNI CC, but offers the same ease of access for cable connections.
Covering the lower registers of this system is the Mirage OM-200, a powered Omnipolar vented subwoofer. It uses dual eight-inch polypropylene titanium deposit hybrid drivers mounted on opposing sides, canceling unwanted energy that can be produced by a single driver subwoofer. The drivers are mounted in a vented enclosure and are powered by a 200-watt RMS (800 Watt Peak Power) Discrete MOSFET Class A/B amplifier. Frequency response is rated at 22Hz to 120Hz –3dB, with an additional video switch that boosts the low bass by 3dB at 40Hz. An extremely convenient feature of the OM-200 is the front-mounted control panel that is integrated beautifully into the top of the subwoofer, making tuning the OM-200 an easy endeavor. There is a continuously variable phase control operating from -180 to +180 degrees and an 18dB per octave variable low-pass filter that operates between 40Hz and 120Hz. Also included are high- and low-level inputs, a high-level output, and a much appreciated crossover bypass. The crossover bypass is a feature missing in many powered subwoofers. It allows the user to control the OM-200 with the internal crossover setting found in today's multi-channel receivers and processors. Additional touches include an automatic sensing switch that turns the subwoofer on when it senses an input signal and off after 10 minutes in the absence of such a signal. Overall dimensions are 16.25 inches by 18-5/8 inches by 17.5 inches, with a total weight of 70 pounds. The subwoofer enclosure is constructed from thick one-and-a-half-inch MDF on top and bottom and three-quarter-inch MDF on the remaining surfaces, available with a black high gloss or cherry finish.