Unique technology speakers, made in Brooklyn

Ohm Acoustics speakers feature radical technology, developed decades ago. Incredibly enough, Ohm still makes all of its speakers in Brooklyn.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
A cutaway drawing of an Ohm CLS Driver. Ohm Acoustics
Ohm offers a micro tower that will even fit in cramped rooms. Ohm Acoustics

I remember listening to Ohm Acoustics speakers ages ago, but I've lost track of the company. Founded in 1971, Ohm Acoustics is still around and still building all of its speakers in Brooklyn.

Ohm speakers feature radical technology, and it's not just that they're omnidirectional designs.

Ohm Micro Walsh tower speakers. Ohm Acoustics

Quoting from the Ohm Web site, here's how the technology works: "The Ohm CLS Driver is a vertical line source that combines inherently perfect time and phase alignment and uniform polar frequency response....At the source, the sound originates simultaneously from the face of the super tweeter and the top of the inverted cone driver..." Translation: they sound good.

The CLS Driver looks like a downward-facing cone, but its sound radiates up and out, in a near 360-degree radiation pattern. In all Ohm designs a single CLS Driver produces bass, midrange, and most treble frequencies; no wonder it sounds nothing like speakers that use separate woofer, midrange, and tweeter drivers.

During my recent factory visit I listened to a set of Ohm Micro Walsh speakers ($1,000 a pair). They're skinny towers: 36 inches high, 6 inches by 6 inches wide, and deep. Even within the huge factory space, the wee towers sounded huge. Bass wasn't super deep, but it was rich and warm. There's no need to add a subwoofer for stereo systems; and larger Ohm speakers sound much the same but can play louder and make deeper bass.

The other thing that amazed me about the Micro Walsh was its freewheeling dynamics. The speakers could get loud in a hurry, so even though I was listening to music I imagine they'll come alive in home theater applications. Not only that, the speakers throw a tangible, three-dimensional soundstage. Ohm's omnidirectional technology really works.

John Strohbeen, Ohm Acoustics owner and designer (and an MIT-educated engineer) hasn't advertised his speakers in years; most sales come from his customer base of 120,000 Ohm speaker owners, or friends of those owners who want to get a set for themselves. And sure, reviews account for at least some of Ohm's business.

John Strohbeen, Ohm Acoustics owner and designer Steve Guttenberg

It's worth noting that the company still provides service for every Ohm speaker ever built. Think Sony or Apple would do the same for any of its products? Ohm's customer support is outstanding, and the company offers a 25 percent discount to Ohm owners on new speakers.

Ohm can also upgrade its older speakers with the latest technology; customers get the equivalent of a new speaker for approximately half the price of the new model. Again, that level of support never happens with large companies, but Ohm is happy to offer that option to its long-term customers.

New Ohm speakers are sold with a 120-day home trial; that's a considerably longer audition period than other direct-sales speaker companies offer. Shipping is $50 a pair for all models in the U.S.