To Doug Schneider,

Sadly, I just sold my Ohm Walsh 4s, which were upgraded to Mk.II. I moved from a house to a condo. They were just too large. I’m thinking about buying KEF Q300s, Polk LSi9s or Polk RTiA1s. After the Ohms, do you think I’d be happy with the less expensive KEFs or the Polk RTiA1s, or would it make a big difference to spend the extra for the LSi9s?

Thanks for your opinion.

Michael Mayo

I’m not familiar with KEF’s Q300, although I do know many of their other speaker models well and think highly of what the company produces. But I do know the two Polk models you mentioned quite well. I reviewed the LSi9 many years ago and found it excellent at that time, but I believe that today you can get a better speaker for the price. Ditto for the RTiA1 -- it’s a good inexpensive speaker, but I just reviewed Paradigm’s new Atom Monitor v.7 and compared those two speakers and found the Atom to be better.

But there’s more to consider when comparing any of those speakers to your old Ohm speakers. The Ohm Walsh 4 uses a Walsh driver, which operates much differently than a conventional driver, resulting in a sound unlike most speakers deliver. It also has a different radiation pattern in a room, since it disperses its sound evenly to the front, back, and sides. No conventional front-firing speaker works like that.

In my opinion, you should try to hear plenty of speakers before you make your choice, since what you'll be hearing is going to be quite different than what you had. You’ll have trouble finding a Walsh-driver-based speaker for a low price, but you can find a number of speakers that, despite being front firing, do have very wide, even dispersion, which will give an approximation of how your Ohms sounded  -- Paradigm, KEF, PSB, Definitive Technology, to name but a few. . . . Doug Schneider