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  1. #1

    Member Sales Rating: (0)

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Albuquerque, NM

    Default OWM5 as 6th channel with SurroundBar

    I have had 42" SurroundBar for a few years now, and recently got a used Outlaw 1050 AVR to run it. This AVR includes a sixth, center rear surround channel which can run either with Dolby Surround EX from DVDs with that type of encoding, or it can derive a sixth channel from the two surround channels in standard 5.1 surround sound. An opportunity recently arose to try out the OWM5 and see if it is a suitable speaker for use as a sixth channel. I received a pair of these, wired them up in parallel and set them up behind and to either side of my main viewing position. I also tried using just one speaker directly behind me. My favorite DVD for testing surround sound is Master & Commander which has lots of good creaking ship noises as ambient sound in the surround channels as well as good sea battle sequence with lots of directional cannon fire sounds.

    The SurroundBar 42 can, at best, develop a surround field of about 150, with an occasional sound that appears to come from directly to the side. Adding the OWM5 pair produced a diffuse sounding rear ambient sound stage which really complemented the SB42. Using just the single OWM5 directly behind produced a distinct rear channel which sometimes is just right for very directional sounds like cannons, but is sometimes too much for ambient noises.

    To get a good blend of the rear surround with the surround channels it is important to choose a speaker with a timbre that matches the surrounds. I wanted to do an A-B comparison of the drivers of the two speakers. My Outlaw 1050 doesn't have a B channel but my old Yamaha RX-V496 does. I hooked up the left and right SurroundBar fronts to the A channel, and the OWM5 to the B channel (no subwoofer). I tried a variety of music genres and it was very clear that these were two quite different speakers. The SurroundBar is so much brighter than the OWM5 that I did not feel that it is a good match. So I will keep looking for a used RM series center speaker.

    I also gave these a try as office speakers, hooked up to my Mac by way of the same Yamaha AVR and a Griffin iMic for a computer interface. I placed the OWM5s on either side of my dual monitors, about 3 feet apart. Speakers this close to the listener often sound grainy but the OWM5s sounded quite clear, good enough to tell the difference between 320mbs mp3 files and Apple lossless format. Bass response was acceptable and, as noted earlier, they are not as bright as other speakers in their size category. I think this is a good thing in this close in situation. I can recommend the OWM5 for a small office rig and suggest that a subwoofer be added to improve the bass.

    Finally, I tried these speakers in place of my Monitor 7a pair in my main 2 channel rig, powered with a Parasound HCA 1000A. Again, the bass response was nowhere hear as good as a full range speaker like the sevens, but at higher volumes they do put out a surprisingly good sound for small speakers, not too bright or harsh like you might expect.

    I did not try any of the wall mount methods, but I did set them up both vertically and horizontally on tables. For horizontal set up there are two self adhesive feet and a 3" piece of padded tape that you can apply to the bottom of each speaker, a simple and inexpensive solution. For a vertical orientation there is a snap on stand. This must work well for the OWM3 but it felt a little light for the OWM5, like it would be easy to knock over.

    So I can recommend the OWM5 for a small office rig or a starter budget 2 channel system. I would bet that 3 OWM5s and 2 OWM3s would make a good budget surround system. They just don't match well with the SurroundBar in a 6 channel system.

    5.1 System:
    Sharp Aquos 37" LCD
    Front: SDA-CRS+
    Center: CS400i
    Surround: Monitor 7A
    PSW10 subwoofer
    Onkyo PR-SC886P Pre/Pro
    NAD T955 5 channel power amplifier
    Technics SL-1710 MK2 turntable
    Audio-Technica AT14Sa cartridge
    NAD 106 pre-amp
    Panasonic DMP-BD85 Blu-Ray
    MacBook Pro 2.16 GHz

    2.0 Office System:
    Monitor 10A (Peerless)
    Outlaw 1050 receiver
    Parasound HCA-1000A power amp

  2. #2

    Member Sales Rating: (0)

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Gatineau, Quebec Canada


    Thanks for the review Jim :)

  3. #3

    Member Sales Rating: (40)

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    North Texas


    Thanks for the write up Jim, I'm rotating my HT 90 degrees, ditching the RM setup, and going with a SurroundBar 50. The RTi series would probably be a better match to the SurroundBar than the OWM, just due to the similar tweeters alone. I wonder how a single FX in bipole mode, calibrated, would fair flush against the rear wall?

    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.

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