There are many fans of full-range, crossover-less designed speakers due to their often heightened efficiency and the resulting purity and coherence of their sonic performance. These designs have at least two limitations that can get in the way of being able to use them on many different types of music. First, single driver designs often cannot reach very high pressure sound levels without distortion. Secondly, they normally cannot reproduce low level bass without using large enclosures that are loaded with a transmission line that allow the back wave of the driver to reinforce the last octaves in the bass region.
Omega Speaker Systems owner and designer, Louis Chochos, only manufactures full range single driver, cross-over less speakers. He has been working for years to minimize these sonic shortcomings with proprietary drivers and ported baffles that are relatively small but produce enough bass to give music the foundation it needs to sound natural. The 1.5 Speakers that sell for $1,250.00 is the model I selected for review. The demo pair were in a very attractive flat finish Bubinga veneer that was a dark reddish brown color. The dimensions of the 1.5 Speakers are height: 27 inches, width: 11.5 inches, and depth: 11 inches. Each 1.5 speaker weighs 35 pounds and has a reported frequency response of 43Hz to 18KHz. The stated sensitivity for the 1.5 Speakers is 97dB with an impedance of 8 Ohms. The 1.5 Speakers can be driven with as little as two Watts. The driver used in the 1.5 Speakers is an eight-inch proprietary Hoyt-Bedford Type 1 design. It is recommended for optimal performance to place the 1.5 Speakers tilted slightly back on its spikes on top of a riser/platform that sells for $275.00 a pair.
When I was listening to Joseph Haydn’s “String Quartet in d minor Op. No.4” (IsoMike), it was apparent that the 1.5s had the great purity of tone and timbres for which the single driver designs are acknowledged. They also delivered all the little nuances of the bows of violins strings in this piece.
The next piece of music was Duke Ellington’s “Chocolate Shake” (Impulse!) by the late great trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard, in a big band arrangement. The 1.5s allowed the punch and power of his trumpet to come through, while the rest of the big band was presented in a large life size soundstage. By pushing the volume to higher levels, I started to hear the setting in of compression. However, at reasonable dB levels, the 1.5s filled my rather small acoustic space with optimum volume levels for enjoying the music.
Another excellent quality of the 1.5s became apparent as I listened to Larry Willis’ “Green Eyes”(Mapleshade) played by him on piano, Jack Walrath on trumpet, and Steve Novosel on bass. At very low volume levels the 1.5s hit its “sweet spot” sonicly, allowing the drive and the pulse of the music to come through without having to raise the volume, unlike many other speakers I have experienced.
Read about the high points and low points of the 1.5s on Page 2.
• The 1.5s can be played at very low levels and still provide excellent dynamics and punch without disturbing other family members.
• It has wonderful purity of tone and timbres with a midrange that is very natural and life-like.
• The 1.5s, because of its single driver design, offers a seamless blending from the top of its range to its bottom octaves which leads to easily relaxing into the music.
• It can be driven by as little as 2 watts, therefore, many different types of amps could be used to drive this speaker.
• The 1.5s will not play at very high volume levels without compression/distortion, so this would not be a speaker for a home theater setup.
• If you are looking for a speaker to play hip-hop, hard rock or extremely bass-heavy music, then the 1.5s would not be a good match for these genres.
• Because of the volume limitations of the 1.5s, it would not be a good fit for a large acoustic space.
Competition and Comparison:
There are two excellent competitors having a price range of $1,200.00 of which I have also auditioned. They are the B&W CM1 valued at $1,000.00 and the PSB Image T6 valued at $1,300.00. The 1.5s has more purity of tone and timbres than the PSB Image T6. However, the T6 will offer a more extended bottom-end and play at higher dB levels. The B&W CM1 comes much closer to matching the 1.5s lack of coloration and beauty in the midrange. However, it, too, has limitations regarding volume levels and low-end extension. For more on these bookshelf speakers and others like them please visit Home Theater Review’s Bookshelf Loudspeaker page.
I thoroughly enjoyed auditioning the Hoyt-Bedford Type 1.5 Speakers because of its wonderful purity and natural timbres. Its transparency also allowed for the little details in the music to float into the room in a very relaxing and charming way. If you mainly listen to acoustic jazz, vocals and small works of classical music, you would like this speaker very much. Because these speakers perform very well at low volume levels, they would be perfect in an apartment or if you have concerns at night about others’ volume tolerance levels. Omega Speaker Systems offers a 30-day home audition period. If you have a small acoustic space, can be content with the 1.5’s limitations in ultimate dB levels and would prefer a great sounding speaker played at low volume levels, then I recommend auditioning this speaker.