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High Efficiency Speaker Asylum: REVIEW: BD Design Oris 150 Speakers by DrM

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REVIEW: BD Design Oris 150 Speakers Review by DrM at Audio Asylum

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Hi All,
I wanted to hold on to this for a few more months, but with the talk recently about this horn thought I'd post it now. Enjoy! (or not)


I've had the Oris horn for about 1 month now, and I can definitely say that it produces the most startlingly realistic music I've heard from a stereo - far above all other speakers I've personally spent time with. In exchange for a few small compromises, I believe these will give you the absolute best in music reproduction. With good recordings they sound wonderful, with really good recordings I forget its a stereo. Long dead performers materialize in front of me, and give me a private recital.

Its been a learning experience for me discovering what speakers are really capable of, and its changed my entire focus on trying to build a system which can play orchestral, opera, and chamber music to my satisfaction. One discovery is how good your equipment can perform when given half a chance. I have a cheap receiver that I had to use before my amp came together. This on the Oris can just SING. It has problems, an over brightness from the cheap electronics, but this receiver never sounded so good. Left on a desert island with just my records, VPI 'table, receiver and beloved Oris horn, I would be happy (excepting the small problem about AC ... ;) Of course really fine equipment just does things hard to believe.

I've owned both boxes and planars, and found the difficulty always was playing orchestral without distortion and breakup. Any high end speaker can do small group well - Jazz, Vocal or chamber. Play an orchestra, chorus and soloists all together, as in an opera, and you discover all the faults of your system. What I hear is that small errors and distortions accumulate, and magnify, becoming intolerable. Actually I gave up, and sold most of my equipment, including some OTL amps and my planars. A year later, after staring at my 4000 records that were getting no spin time, I thought I'd give horns a chance and bought the Oris, unseen and unheard. It was the best decision I could have made.

They are not perfect of course. They are not small (or put another way, you can say they make great conversation pieces! ;), and they have a small sweet spot. Not 'head in a vice', but just small. Actually this has some interesting results. Some people like to listen just a bit off axis. This position has less high frequency response. So if your equipment is bright, you can adjust the tonal balance by speaker placement. Also, depending on your room, you will have to work a bit to get good bass probably. An advantage here is you can tailor it. I happen to have corners, so Khorn bass bins are in order. These also are DIY, so you have to work to capture the magic.

If you listen to lots of Rock, I think a box/cone speaker is better - because its better to hide the details of the music from you! ;) Yes I'm biased, sorry - but I do enjoy what little Rock I listen to more on 'normal' speakers. Electronic type music sounds too electronic on these for my taste. I know other Oris owners who disagree with me however.

This is a long review. I wrote it not because I'm trying to convince others this speaker is great - its inexpensive enough I don't feel guilty of the purchase and have to justify it ;) - but especially to help me sort out my own thoughts on what is happening. Also I'm not in love with the design. If a better speaker comes along, I'll buy, build, or steal it. But this review is because I just don't believe what my ears are telling me. Follows is a detailed explanation of my thoughts.

I have little time to travel to the symphony and Opera. Can I truly bring this into my house? The musical experience is varied. I'm used to hearing it from the inside of a group - from the clarinet section. Here the strings are distant, percussion loud, horns very loud. But you FEEL the music, you are part of it, inside of it, and carried along. Front row center are generally the best seats, but how good they really are depends on the qualities of the hall. So my philosophy is that if I can bring a system to a level of performance so good, that the errors are on the order of errors that any hall would make, then I'm finished working on it, and can just listen. It needs to be fresh, true, lively, and as good as real music. It doesn't need a perfectly flat frequency or to be able to reproduce 20 Hz test tones.

My System so far

OK, I'll describe an ideal loudspeaker, assuming tubes (my preference), and
compare this to the Oris horn

An ideal loudspeaker is ...

Obviously I like them. They are the best speaker I've heard yet. I suppose you may not however, if you like upgrading your speaker every so often.


Santa Rosa, CA USA

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Topic - REVIEW: BD Design Oris 150 Speakers Review by DrM at Audio Asylum - DrM 21:40:06 04/4/01 ( 43)